Our “Hermanos” Need Us

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The gospel of Jesus Christ has been preached in Spanish for a long time in this region and still is. The Lord has been good in preserving long-standing churches and in promoting new plantings throughout this region. Churches like Iglesia Bautista de Washington and Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana de Maryland, established in 1990 and 1977, respectively, are icons of the Hispanic work in the region. Pastors Efraín López, Fernando Bilbao and Raul Gutierrez are true pillars of regional witness for Christ. Young pastors like José Miguel Báez, at Iglesia Bautista Vida Nueva, Davidsonville; Roberto Mancía, pastor of Iglesia Communidad de Gracia, Glen Burnie, MD; and Ernesto Carranza; Redencion, Silver Spring, arrived more recently to preach

Roberto Mancia (left) pastors Iglesia Communidad de Grace in Glen Burnie. (photo by Sharon Mager)

[/caption]the same hope in our Lord Jesus. Churches being planted right now in Glen Burnie and Temple Hills are addressing the growing Hispanic population in those communities. Lord willing, next year, a new Hispanic church will be planted in Germantown, Maryland.

The Need Remains Great
Even so, the need remains great in Baltimore, Hyattsville, Bowie, Silver Spring, Wilmington, Georgetown, Salisbury, and Washington DC. According to the most recent survey conducted by Lifeway Research, the Hispanic church in the USA is currently showing some interesting characteristics:

• Most Hispanic Protestant churches (54%) have been established since 2000, including 32% founded in 2010 or later. Fewer than 1 in 10 (9%) trace their history before 1950.

• In the average Hispanic Protestant church, a full third of the congregation (35%) is under 30, including 18% under 18. Another 38% are aged 30-49, and 28% are 50 and older.

• In U.S. Hispanic Protestant churches, the average worship service attendance is 115.

Within that universe of those surveyed are our very own Maryland/Delaware Hispanic Baptist churches. Twenty of these congregations not only still suffer the ravages of recovering from COVID-19, but also struggle with traditions, customs, doctrines and behaviors that conspire against their unity, stability and longevity.

Ninety percent of their leadership is bi-vocational, mostly because their churches cannot support at least one full-time pastor. Most Hispanic pastors find it overwhelmingly difficult to obtain partnerships and agreements with churches or similar organizations that financially support the work. Many churches have difficulty finding a place to meet or to pay rent for a building.

Finally, even though most of them preach sound doctrine in accordance with the word of God, some of the pastors and leaders suffer to put into practice these Christological and Ecclesiological truths of the gospel.

Volunteers give away food and clothing at Iglesia Biblica Sublime Gracia in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dominic Henry)

The participation of the Hispanic churches in the BCM/D annual meetings is very scarce, not only because of the language barrier for some leaders but especially because of the bi-vocational need of the majority of the Hispanic pastors. Offerings to the Cooperative Program are also low. A good percentage of Hispanic church members are underpaid at their jobs and are not trained to give generously to their congregations.

Sadly, in the last three years, four of our Hispanic churches had to close their doors. Some others are unstable financially and weak in emergent leadership.

In Matthew 9:38, our Lord did not command us to collect money, recruit personnel or entertain our community. These things are good and necessary. However, what Jesus commanded us was to pray so that the Lord of the Harvest would send workers to His harvest.

To be honest, when was the last time your church cried out to the Lord to raise up planters from among ourselves? We must support with all our arsenal the new churches we know of, especially those that preach the crucified and risen Christ yet suffer for their stability and longevity.

There is hope, brothers! Christ is ruling and reigning. He is indeed being preached in Spanish by faithful pastors and churches in our region. If the demographic tendencies keep their pace, we should pay attention right away to the principles of collaboration the beloved disciple taught to Gaius a long ago:

“Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.” 3 John1:5-8


Is your community already populated with Hispanic people? What plan do you have to reach them with the gospel in case demographic changes happen in a few months or years?

Hispanic congregations gather for United Worship in 2022. (Photo submitted)

Are there any Spanish-speaking members in your church that you would love to train or foster training for future ministry in your community?

How could you help a Hispanic church stay in your area for the long run? Which Hispanic church does your church regularly pray for?

Contact Alejandro if you feel called to start, assist or support a Hispanic church! [email protected].

Alejandro Molero serves as a BCM/D church planting missionary.

Feature Photo; Alejandro Molero with his wife, Mariabi at McClean Bible Church MBC (Photo courtesy of MBC) This article recently appeared in our annual BaptistLIFE magazine 2023