Having profoundly impacted the 2012 U.S. presidential election, the rising U.S. Hispanic population can hardly be ignored. Hispanic demographics in the nation have been on virtually every media mind—and should be.
According to the 2013 Hispanic Ministries Report, compiled by Foursquare National Hispanic Missional Coach Daniel Prieto, there are 50.5 million Hispanics in the U.S., accounting for 16.3 percent of the entire country’s population. Additionally, from 1990 to 2006, the general U.S. population grew 18 percent, while the Hispanic population grew and astonishing 85 percent.
In 2011, Foursquare President Glenn Burris Jr. outlined Five Targets that will help accelerate the mission of The Foursquare Church. Target Two of this Five Target agenda is growing healthy, multiplying churches; and that doesn’t mean just growing white churches.
As Target Four, which is specifically concerned with diversifying leaders, states: “The opportunity to marshal our resources and efforts to build a network of diverse leaders that are multicultural, multigenerational, and women in ministry brings an enormous sense of joy and anticipation.”
The plan to grow healthy churches transcends cultural, gender and ethic barriers, and growing healthy churches requires acknowledging the people who make up our congregations, or who could. It is meeting people where they are, recognizing our differences and partnering together in them. It is not the denial that we each have unique qualities, but rather a celebration of our gifts, our histories, our families and our cultures. Everyone brings something to the table.
A New Role
Daniel Prieto, an ordained Foursquare minister, is the first to fill the brand-new role of national Hispanic missional coach. A Foursquare pastor for over 27 years, former Hispanic district supervisor, and chairman of the Foursquare Hispanic Council for the last two years, Daniel was appointed to the new position of national Hispanic missional coach just this year. This role, created out of a need for more Hispanic representation, is a major step toward healthy church multiplication.
This is not a new ministry, but rather a new position of leadership, which will support continued Hispanic ministry. Daniel serves as a member of the National Church Office core team, and in partnership with district supervisors and Hispanic representatives who form the Hispanic Council.
Some might wonder, what are Foursquare’s goals for its Hispanic churches, and how will the national Hispanic missional coach aid in that vision?
To more clearly define what we are talking about when we refer to Hispanic churches, a congregation must meet two of the following three criteria to be considered a Hispanic congregation: (1) the church’s lead pastor is Hispanic; (2) the majority of the church is Hispanic; (3) the primary language of the church is Spanish.
According to Daniel, the focus of the national Hispanic missional coach will be to see “more Hispanic pastors and leaders actively engaged in the life and ministry of the U.S. Foursquare Church, and more Hispanic pastors and leaders with leadership positions in our denomination.” The vision is to see “rapid growth and reproduction within the Hispanic church in the United States.”
To accomplish these goals, which comprise the National Hispanic Vision, Daniel, as the national Hispanic missional coach, will, among other things:
- Serve as a Hispanic voice in all national Foursquare issues, advising Tammy Dunahoo, Foursquare general supervisor, and Ted Vail, director of urban and multicultural ministries, in issues concerning Hispanic ministry.
- Plan and lead, together with the Hispanic Council, Conexión Hispana, which takes place annually at Foursquare’s Connection.
- Oversee the development of the National Hispanic Vision in partnership with the districts and the Hispanic Council as well as committees that serve the vision of the Hispanic ministries in each district.
- Associate with Hispanic representatives, Hispanic district leaders and with district supervisors to assist in the development of ministry teams within the districts, providing continuous support and counsel to advance the fulfillment of the vision of the Hispanic ministry of each district.
- Build regional partnerships between districts that aid in implementing more effective training seminars and church multiplication efforts.
A Look Ahead
Looking toward the future, according to the 2013 Hispanic Ministries Report, the Hispanic Council maintained its annual meeting this year and will continue to gather and remain an integral body in Foursquare Hispanic ministry.
Additionally, 12 of the 14 districts have a Hispanic representative who is a member of the Hispanic Council and who works closely alongside the district supervisor, contextualizing the district’s vision for the Hispanic community and assisting in organizing, structuring and strategically planning an effective Hispanic ministry. In the past 10 years, Foursquare has seen a 60 percent increase in Hispanic churches, and the coming years only hold more promise.
Foursquare General Supervisor Tammy Dunahoo notes: “Daniel’s ‘voice at the table’ representing the Hispanic Council and the vision of each district to multiply Hispanic churches and leaders is invaluable. We have an unprecedented opportunity to see great fruitfulness in the Hispanic community in this next season. Already, the council estimates some 47 churches being planted and some 1,800 leaders trained across the nation through our districts in 2013. This is an exciting day!”
According to Daniel, simply put: The goal is to help multiply churches and the number of leaders—providing training, resources and care for our pastors and leaders. He says this new season is about more than the Hispanic community.
“It is fantastic,” Daniel affirms, “to see redeemers, worshipers and ministers come together from every language and nation to celebrate and release diversity to spread the gospel and make disciples.”
By: Ashley Wolpert Miller, a freelance writer living in Long Beach, Calif.