The ethnic church is leading a reformation that is reconciling Catholics, diversifying worship and reclaiming biblical orthodoxy.

To say that the Latino Pentecostal community is impacting America would be an understatement. But the ethnic church, particularly the Hispanic segment, is not interested in revival, which involves capturing a former glory and reviving old models. Instead, Latinos seek reformation, an abrupt change to the status quo. To do this they're presenting a distinctive brand of Christianity. Here are the major characteristics of this new brand of 21st-century reformation:

Worship Reformation with Sabor

"I do not lose my culture when I come to Christ, I incorporate it," says Saturnino González, pastor of a 4,000-member Hispanic church in Orlando, Fla.

Accordingly, Pastor Nino believes that worship is the key to ministering to and attracting Hispanics. He also believes the Latino community is transforming how America worships.

"We are adding sabor, or flavor, to the songs we sing and how we praise," he says. Recent findings from the Pew Research Center validate González's point. According to the research, Pentecostal and charismatic expressions are a key attribute of Hipanics from all major denominational traditions. That is not the case with non-Latinos.

Catholic Reformation with Tongues

When Martin Luther posted his grievances on the doors in Wittenberg, Germany, the Protestant Reformation began. Today, Latinos lead a new reformation, not by opposing the Catholic Church but by injecting it with a charismatic thread. This is evidenced by the fact that 54 percent of Hispanic Catholics are charismatic.

"As a Latino Pentecostal, I grew up believing that Catholics were doomed to hell because of their idolatry and prayers to Mary," explains Israel Bermúdez, associate pastor of a church in Puerto Rico. "Now I understand that the majority of those same Latino Catholics pray in tongues like I do, worship with the same enthusiasm and desire the same personal distinctive relationship with Christ we all long for."

According to Bermúdez, this phenomenon facilitates the bridging of the gap between Catholics and evangelicals. In the Latino community, evangelicals and Catholics are charismatic brothers.

Biblical Reformation with Orthodoxy

As more Latinos become dedicated members of American churches, the distinguishing characteristic of all of them is biblical orthodoxy.

"Hispanic Christians believe that the word of God is the final authority. Any deviation is deemed as heretical and unacceptable," says Ángel Núñez, senior pastor of a multicultural congregation in Baltimore.

Núñez added that while the Anglo church debates whether miracles, healings and Pentecostal experiences exist today, the Latino church sees these arguments as futile because they exist in the daily narrative of the Hispanic believer.

Today, across America, the ethnic church approaches the Wittenberg doors of America's religious institutions and posts its demands: worship that will lift the soul, experiences that will empower the Spirit and a biblical journey that will catapult a life. While the non-ethnic church seeks to revive the old, the ethnic church arises and declares "'Behold, I will do a new thing'" (Is. 43:19, NKJV). n

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is the President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the Hispanic NAE, serving 15 million Latino born-again Christians and 18,000 churches.

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Discouragement can be a serious struggle.

    Guard Your Spirit Against These 4 Crippling Attacks

    Are you struggling this Valentine's Day with one of these discouraging issues?

  • Worship leaders, keep your team's attitude in check.

    This Can Quickly Erode a Worship Team's Culture

    God has given us talent and He calls for excellence, but excellence with this is not honoring ...

  • A 'What's in it for me?' mentality could bring your church down.

    The Mentality That May Be Killing Your Church

    And we wonder why so many congregations are stagnated, plateaued or declining.

  • Why Many Christians Misunderstand This Crucial Leadership Trait

    Great leadership doesn't start with a great education, although that is incredibly valuable. ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • What reasons can you think of that leaders might not choose to delegate authority?

    7 Reasons Some Leaders Dump Delegation

    These could have a lot to do with stalled growth and low team morale.

  • Your Source of Unlimited Kingdom Energy and Power

    Jesus said that we can do greater works than He did and that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

  • Don't bring your sermons in for a crash landing.

    4 Terrible Ways to Close a Sermon

    People need an opportunity to respond to the Word of God.

  • These seven responses can get you on the right track.

    Responding Like Jesus When Your Church Kicks You Out

    It's a pain that many in the ministry have felt at least once and maybe more.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders