We know. We share.
This simply reflects what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4 – I believed, therefore I have spoken. As a religious denomination whose roots are found in an immigrant population, it is natural for us in the WELS to be concerned about sharing the Gospel with other ethnic races. WELS has done this for over 125 years, at home and abroad. Considering that over 37 million people speak Spanish in the USA, and over 390 million speak Spanish around the world, it is natural for WELS to want to reach out to those who live in this language and culture.
The message that we share throughout the world doesn’t change depending on what country we live in or people group we address. The methodology might, depending on the location. Cristo Palabra de Vida (CPdV), composed of two pastors and two Latino laymen, exists to coordinate, facilitate and encourage ministry in this realm of life for outreach in the USA. Their primary focus is to assist congregations in the US to look at their communities, react to the language and cultural barriers, and take the Gospel in the most direct path possible to members of the community. Using products from Multi-Language Productions, CPdV also uses gifted and experienced people and bilingual pastors to help individuals and congregations understand the cultural realities, become aware of the possibilities, and undertake efforts that will create bridges over the cultural waters so that every person can gather to learn, worship, and enjoy the fellowship of “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Sometimes that is done completely in Spanish. Increasingly more is done in a bilingual mode, so that parents and children can both hear the language in the form that makes the most sense for them.
Hispanics living in the USA often express a desire to learn more about the community in which they live. Using English language classes, community events, and religious activities at the local congregation, bridges are built across cultures, a common language is established, and individuals and congregations share the Gospel with individuals in their own community. Occasionally some desire to share the wonderful good news of their free and full salvation with their relatives and friends outside of the USA. CPdV encourages this and helps them with resources and training.
The Board for Home Missions (BHM) has a full-time Hispanic Outreach Consultant (HOC) who is ready, willing, and able to help any congregation reach this burgeoning community right outside of our current doors. The BHMHOC will scout out communities, train individuals and congregations and offer ongoing support to help many more get on that one path to heaven. To reach the BHMHOC, call 920.217.2704 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the grace of God, over 105 locations in the US, and an additional 60 locations throughout the world, are now engaging their neighbors. Would you like to join them?
Hispanic Outreach Statistics
Hispanic Souls: 2,200
Congregations serving Hispanic people: 109
Spanish worship services held every weekend: 19
Weekly Spanish Bible classes (in congregations that do not have Spanish worship): 15
Congregations with bilingual vicars: 2
Congregations receiving Hispanic outreach assistance from students at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary: 3
Congregations receiving Home Missions financial subsidy for Hispanic outreach: 11