By Sergio Arce
Last month, The Tennessean newspaper ran a front-page story titled, "Hispanics hold key to churches' future," noting that, "66 percent of all new congregations added to the Southern Baptist Convention since 1998 were ethnic or African-American."
It is an astounding figure, but even with this rapid growth of diversity in the SBC, there is room for much more evangelism and discipleship by churches among ethnic people groups.
Tim Hill, who oversees ethnic church planting for the Tennessee Baptist Convention, has seen much of this growth first-hand, but in the article he also lamented that many Anglo SBC churches in Tennessee "have never done Hispanic ministry and didn't know how to reach people with a different language, culture, and religion."
That's significant because international missions no longer happen just overseas.
Nashville, for instance, is home to the largest group of Sudanese outside the Sudan and the largest community of Kurds outside of Kurdistan. And, although Nashville does not have one of the largest Hispanic populations, it is among the 100 cities with the fastest-growing Hispanic populations in our country.
This kind of ethnic growth is happening all around the United States and it should be shaping how we think about and do ministry in our communities.
For instance, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanics are the fastest growing minority group in the U.S. (currently over 46 million), and are projected to triple in number by 2050.
This presents an incredible missions opportunity for Southern Baptists.
Until next time...share the journey and enjoy the ride!