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The National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry (81580-GM-NonDis)

The National Plan For Hispanic/Latino Ministry

The vision of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino
Ministry is that of a growing, dynamic, and inclusive
church as United Methodism responds to the opportunity
presented by the increasing Hispanic/Latino population
of the United States. To be such a church, God
needs disciples who are faithful sowers of the gospel in
our world. In the parable of the seed in Mark 3:3-9, 13-
20, Jesus teaches that for there to be a harvest, there
needs to be sowing. Jesus Christ calls and depends on
his disciples to faithfully present the gospel wherever
they find themselves and to whomsoever will respond.
Sowing involves risks, including the risks of no fruit
coming to maturity and of a small harvest. Some persons
may not respond at all, while others may respond only
partially. However, the more seed planted, the greater
the chances of a harvest, a harvest that will make the
effort worthwhile. Disciples sow as they minister in the
world, and they depend on God for the harvest.
We rejoice and are thankful for what has been
accomplished through the National Plan. At the same
time we realize that opportunities remain. Much more
still needs to be done if The United Methodist Church is
to reap the fruits of what the National Plan has been
doing. The early church learned that through the
empowerment of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost they were
able to become an effective and powerful church, witnessing
to the resurrected Jesus and thus continuing the
Lord’s ministry. Today, as disciples of Jesus Christ and
as his church, we must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s
leading as we continue sowing and cultivating the seed
so that new people may respond to the gospel.
If The United Methodist Church is to grow, we
must continue to reach out to the growing
Hispanic/Latino population in our midst. The US
Hispanic/Latino population has increased by approximately
thirteen million between 1990 and 2000 or by
about 58%. In six southern states (North Carolina,
Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and
Alabama) and four other states (Kentucky, Minnesota,
Nebraska, and Nevada), the increase in the
Hispanic/Latino population ranged from 394% to 155%
between 1990 and 2000. Every annual conference has a
growing Hispanic/Latino population. According to the
US Census Bureau’s demographic projections, by 2011
there will be twenty-five conferences with 100,000 to
499,999 Hispanics/Latinos,1 and nineteen with over
500,000. (See Appendix for a list of the nineteen conferences.)
The National Plan For Hispanic/Latino Ministry
1034 DCA Advance Edition
Table I: Population by Race and Ethnicity, 2005
Universe: 2005 Total Native-born Foreign-born Percent
Household Population population population population foreign born
Hispanic 41,926,302 25,085,528 16,840,774 40.2
White alone, not Hispanic 192,526,952 185,083,309 7,443,643 3.9
Black alone, not Hispanic 34,410,656 31,875,439 2,535,217 7.4
Asian and Pacific Islander alone, not Hispanic 12,677,007 4,252,962 8,424,045 66.5
Other, not Hispanic 6,857,902 6,331,978 525,924 7.7
Total 288,398,819 252,629,216 35,769,603 12.4
Source: Pew Hispanic Center tabulations of 2005 American Community Survey
Table I shows that in 2005, 40% of the Hispanic
population in the US were immigrants. Overall, in the
decades between 1970 and 2000, immigrants made up
45% of the total Hispanic population in the US, while the
second generation made up 28% and the third generation
made up 32%. However, because fertility rates are higher
among Hispanic/Latino immigrants than in any other
segment of the US population, over the next 20 years the
second generation will grow to the point where they
compose 36% of all Hispanics by the year 2020, while
the first generation makes up 30% of the total.2
The US Census reported that the national median
age of foreign-born Hispanics/Latinos was thirty-three,
but for native-born Hispanics/Latinos it was eighteen. In
2000, almost 43% of Hispanic/Latino immigrants
nationally had less than a high school education, but in
the six above-mentioned southern states, the percentage
among foreign-born Latinos was much higher–66%,
compared to 31% for native-born Afro-Americans, and
20% for native-born whites in those same states. Given
their recent arrival and limited education, 21% of all
Hispanics/Latinos did not speak English in 2000.
Although the exact number is not known, a large number
of Hispanic/Latino immigrants are not legal residents,
a situation that brings them and their families
insecurity and constant transience, and subjects them to
abuse by employers and landlords. Not surprisingly, the
poverty rate of Hispanics/Latinos nationwide in 2000
was almost twice as high as that for the general population:
24.5% for Hispanics/Latinos compared to 13.3%
for the overall population.3
Signs of God’s Faithfulness
Seeds are being planted; some fruits are being produced.
Securing the necessary data to determine the
extent of the harvest has been a continuing challenge for
several important reasons. Some annual conferences do
not gather the necessary data and/or do not regularly
report it. Because each conference determines how and
when a new congregation is chartered, Hispanic/Latino
members are often not counted because the new congregations
or faith communities have not yet been chartered
or organized as a local church. Nevertheless, the General
Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) has
reported a steady increase in the Hispanic/Latino membership
in our denomination over the last few years. In
early 2007, the GCFA also reported that 102 new
churches had been founded since 2005, and out of that
number 21 of them were Hispanic.5
Factors Contributing to Growth
Some of the following statistics from the national
office’s annual conference survey show factors that have
contributed to this growth. So far this quadrennium (as
of June 2007):
  • Eight annual conferences received National Plan
    grants totaling $320,000, while in the previous
    quadrennium 27 conferences received grants
    totaling $1,261,300.
  • Thirty-two annual conferences have received
    other kinds of resources for Hispanic/Latino ministries.
  • Approximately 300 church school extension programs
    have been developed, and 28 established
    Hispanic/Latino congregations in four different
    conferences are engaged in the Congregational
    Mobilization Process to renew their ministries.
  • Ministry grants totaling $260,000 have been
    given to four different seminaries and conference
  • Four annual conferences are now involved in
    Brazilian ministries.
  • Eight conferences and one seminary have held
    Module I, II, and III workshops in addition to
    three Module workshops in Portuguese.
  • Seven hundred new lay missioners and pastormentors
    have been trained, including 90 lay persons
    in Brazilian ministries.
  • Nineteen persons have received training to serve
    as facilitators of Module I and II workshops,
    while 50 new consultants have been prepared to
    assist and guide annual conferences to develop
    Latino ministries.
  • Approximately 600 non-Hispanic/Latino church
    leaders participated in three jurisdictional convocations
    related to developing Hispanic/Latino
    ministries this quadrennium.
  • Approximately 100 local congregations or
    regional groups have been involved in justice and
    outreach ministries.
  • The General Board of Global Ministries commissioned
    48 missionaries and assigned them to
    develop and strengthen Hispanic/Latino ministries
    in 22 different annual conferences.
    Statistics are important but do not tell the whole
    story. The National Plan’s impact at the local and conference
    levels can been seen in the stories of clergy and
    laity reaching out to their communities with the gospel
    of Jesus Christ, serving as signs of God’s reign among
    Global Ministries 1035
    us. Hispanics/Latinos are being reached through community
    ministries and faith communities in non-
    Hispanic/Latino local churches and in Hispanic/Latino
    churches through the work of lay missioners and pastormentor
    teams and the ministry of commissioned missionaries.
    Ypsilanti Success Stories
    First United Methodist Church in Ypsilanti,
    Michigan, began reaching Latinos in its community
    through language programs, English and Spanish as a
    Second Language (ESL) classes, translation services,
    transportation services, referral services for undocumented
    persons, and mentoring programs. The church
    also collaborated with University of Michigan Law
    School students to establish a workers center. In partnership
    with community-based organizations, the church
    also provided a variety of services and cultural events for
    the Hispanic/Latino community and provided building
    space and secretarial support for a Latino theatre group.
    The church not only used community ministries to
    attract Latinos but also, through the work of a Latina lay
    missioner, formed a faith community. The Latina lay
    missioner coordinates all the church’s ministries as a
    team with the senior pastor, a non-Hispanic/Latino person.
    The lay missioner has participated in Module I and
    II of the Lay Missioner and Pastor-Mentor Team
    Training Program. Since 2004, the faith community
    enabled the church to hold a worship service in Spanish
    every Sunday. Because of its various ministries, the
    church has been revitalized and has integrated its outreach
    program to Latinos as part of the local church’s
    mission and ministry. The church now requires pastoral
    leadership that is bilingual in both English and Spanish
    to lead its ministries.
    South Carolina Success Stories
    The potential for growth can be seen in the South
    Carolina Conference where in the summer of 2006 a
    cluster of four non-Hispanic/Latino local churches in
    the area of West Columbia and Cayce joined forces to
    hold a vacation Bible school to reach children, the
    majority of them Latinos, in an apartment complex near
    one of the churches. These churches’ experience was the
    beginning of a ministry with the Hispanic/Latino community
    in their midst, reports the conference coordinator
    of Hispanic/Latino ministries.
    The experience of lay missioner and pastor-mentor
    teams playing a role in developing faith communities that
    grow to become new congregations has been repeated a
    number of times in the Wisconsin Conference as the
    National Plan has been implemented over the years. In
    1995, through the work of a lay missioner and pastormentor
    team, faith communities were formed in different
    homes in the town of Delavan as part of the evangelistic
    outreach of a Hispanic/Latino congregation in Lake
    Geneva, just a few miles away. Within three years the
    conference recognized Delavan as a place of ministry and
    named a full-time local pastor to continue it.
    In 2000, another lay missioner from the Delavan
    church began faith communities in Whitewater, 15 miles
    from Delavan. The people from Whitewater began
    attending the new congregation in Delavan. Within two
    years the faith communities in Whitewater formed their
    own new congregation, which now averages 80 people
    in attendance at the Sunday worship service. In these
    two places, the lay missioner and pastor-mentor teams
    not only offered worship services and Bible studies to
    the new persons being reached, but also offered various
    community ministries, including translation services,
    and referring and taking people to medical and immigration
    services. The lay missioner at Whitewater is
    expanding the congregation’s outreach to another
    nearby town, Jefferson, with some people traveling to
    Whitewater for worship services.
    More recently, through the assistance of a National
    Plan grant to the conference, a pastor was appointed to
    Green Bay to begin ministry among the growing number
    of Hispanics/Latinos. The pastor established a clothing
    and food distribution center in collaboration with a
    Catholic church. The pastor then formed some faith
    communities that have produced a worshipping congregation
    with an average attendance of 60 each Sunday.
    Alabama-West Florida Success Stories
    In the Alabama-West Florida Conference, commissioned
    missionaries have worked with Hispanic/Latino
    pastors and conference leaders to train a group of lay
    missioners to begin faith communities, and to strengthen
    and expand Hispanic/Latino ministries that have been
    started over the last few years. Subsequently faith communities
    have been started in Centreville, Clanton,
    Mobile, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, and Wetumpka,
    Alabama; and in Pensacola, Florida, utilizing lay missioner
    and pastor-mentor teams.
    Today this conference has at least seven United
    Methodist worship services conducted in Spanish each
    week with the average attendance ranging from 25 to
    70. Some of the lay missioners that received training
    1036 DCA Advance Edition
    have also been working within the new missions or congregations
    to develop or lead their various ministries.
    Through the help of a couple of commissioned missionaries,
    many social, translation, health, and immigration
    services and programs have been developed in some of
    these new congregations. Because of the growth in
    Hispanic/Latino ministries, in January 2007, the conference
    decided to hire a conference coordinator of
    Hispanic/Latino ministries to continue to strengthen and
    expand its ministries.
    Brooklyn Success Stories
    The National Plan’s Congregational Mobilization
    Process has helped revitalize established Hispanic/
    Latino local churches that were in a declining cycle.
    Such was the case of Fourth Avenue United Methodist
    Church in Brooklyn, New York, a church that began as
    an English-speaking mission in 1873 and built its first
    chapel in 1877. Due to ethnic and demographic changes
    in the community, an Hispanic mission was started in
    1977. Since then it has been led by five different pastors
    and has had two fruitful but short growth periods.
    In 2002, the church was more focused on itself, acting
    more like a club than a church reaching out to its
    community. Internal tensions and conflicts drained its
    leadership, energy, and spiritual resources. The church
    debated whether to begin the three-stage, guided
    Congregational Mobilization Process of planning for the
    future which includes analyzing itself and its community,
    training local leaders, and finally implementing
    new ministries.
    Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church did decide
    to go through that process, and because of the successful
    changes brought about through that process, the
    church was able to make much needed repairs costing
    over $100,000 to its building in 2003 and 2004. It had
    not been able to do so before that time. Furthermore,
    through the process, the church was able to start new
    Sunday school classes and adult education English
    classes in collaboration with the city. It was also able to
    attract and integrate new members into the church as it
    continued to expand the variety of community ministries
    that it offered to its community, including a food pantry
    and rehabilitation services for substance abuse, physical
    abuse, and gangs. The current pastor reports that, thanks
    to the Congregational Mobilization Process, the church
    has been revitalized and has transformed its ministries
    and building. It now sees itself as a center for mission
    and evangelization.
    Brazilian Ministries
    A new element in the National Plan for
    Hispanic/Latino Ministry for 2005–2008 was the incorporation
    of Brazilian ministries. There are currently
    ministries with Brazilians in four annual conferences:
    Greater New Jersey, New England, Florida, and North
    Georgia. Two other annual conferences are seriously
    considering starting Brazilian ministries in the very near
    future. Modules I and II have already been translated
    into Portuguese and a core group of Brazilian facilitators
    have been trained to lead the workshops throughout
    the country.
    In 2006, the Module I pilot workshop was held as a
    joint project with the New England and Greater New
    Jersey Conferences and their respective Brazilian ministries.
    In Clearwater, Florida, a new work has begun.
    The Brazilian ministry sponsored by the Verdad y Vida
    United Methodist Church held its first worship service
    in Portuguese on May 27, 2007. This ministry is led by
    two lay persons in coordination with the pastor. There is
    an average attendance of 20 people in the worship services.
    Transformation Sparked by Pastoral Leadership
    Pastoral leadership is critical for developing new
    congregations and new ministries among Hispanics/
    Latinos. In Nebraska a few years ago a woman who had
    received seminary training in her native country found
    herself at a crucial point in her life, facing possible deportation,
    frustrated with a dilapidated building, and working
    in a small congregation with very limited resources.
    Through a compassionate United Methodist non-
    Hispanic/Latino pastor’s intervention, she was able to
    submit her visa papers and talk with the bishop who asked
    her if she was interested in working with that conference.
    Her seminary work was evaluated by the General
    Board of Higher Education and Ministry, and then she
    was sent to a Spanish-language Course of Study School
    in Dallas to complete the studies that she needed to
    become a certified local pastor. She was appointed as an
    associate pastor of a non-Hispanic/Latino church with
    the intention of developing ministries with the
    Hispanics/Latinos in the city of Imperial. “Through the
    grace of God we have established regular [worship]
    services, Bible studies, English as a Second Language
    programs, tutoring and afterschool programs, a United
    Methodist Women’s group, and presently we have
    begun two faith communities,” reports this local pastor.
    She has attended Module I, II, and III workshops, and
    Global Ministries 1037
    recently was named as district coordinator of
    Hispanic/Latino ministries.
    Pacific Northwest Success Stories
    The National Plan’s annual conference grants have
    stimulated conferences to start or expand their ministries
    with Hispanics/Latinos, as already mentioned, and they
    have also assisted conferences to develop their pastoral and
    lay leadership. The Pacific Northwest Annual Conference
    received a National Plan grant a few years ago. The grant
    has helped the conference expand its ministries with
    Hispanics/Latinos to a number of cities and towns that did
    not have any such ministries. The conference now is reaching
    Hispanics/Latinos in two distinct geographical regions:
    one on each side of the Cascade Mountains, with two centers
    for Hispanic/Latino ministries, one in Burien and
    another in Toppenish, Washington. An Hispanic pastor and
    a non-Hispanic/Latino pastor are the current directors of
    these respective centers. The conference has
    Hispanic/Latino ministries in three out of its five districts,
    and it hopes to begin work in the remaining districts by
    2008. It currently has nine new faith community locations
    for mission work, with seven of them already in operation;
    there are four other faith communities that existed before
    this quadrennium.
    To prepare its leaders, the conference held a
    Module I workshop for lay missioner and pastor-mentor
    teams in the spring of 2006. It has also enlisted and
    begun the training of six local pastors, and hopes to
    begin the training process with an additional five within
    a year. This is a critical step for the conference to guarantee
    trained leadership as it seeks to expand its
    Hispanic/Latino ministries beyond what they currently
    have. The National Plan’s grant became the catalyst to
    bring together resources within and beyond the conferences
    for the expansion and support of these ministries.
    Oregon-Idaho Success Stories
    In 2004, the Oregon/Idaho Conference received a
    National Plan annual conference grant and a commissioned
    missionary to implement the work of a newly
    created Hispanic/Latino Ministry Training Institute. A
    non-Hispanic/Latino lay missioner who had worked as
    part of a pastor-mentor team in a local congregation outreach
    project was chosen as the Institute coordinator in
    mid-2004. The Institute’s purpose is to instruct
    “Hispanic and non-Hispanic leadership in developing
    Hispanic and other outreach ministries.”
    The coordinator reports that the Institute was established
    “through the support of the conference Hispanic
    Ministry Council, the supervision of the Western district
    superintendent, the partnership with the Office of
    Connectional Ministries, and the educational support of
    the consultants and facilitators and staff of the National
    Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry.” The Institute has
    recruited a small core of facilitators and instructors on a
    “needs” basis, and has become a mobile training center,
    offering training events at local, district, and conference
    levels throughout the conference.
    Such events have included Module I and II workshops
    in two different cities (one in partnership with a
    neighboring conference), a jurisdictional event with representatives
    from three conferences attending, district
    orientation events, and numerous local church presentations
    about Hispanic/Latino ministries. It also offered its
    constituents cross-cultural experiences, including mission
    trips within and outside the conference, multicultural
    and bilingual camps in partnership with the
    conference Camp and Retreat Ministries. The Institute
    has also enabled the jurisdiction to host a facilitators’
    workshop, and has worked ecumenically on information-
    sharing events and presentations on immigration
    issues. Spanish language training classes have also been
    organized and offered periodically.
    As a result of the work of the Institute, local
    churches have begun new outreach projects like ESL
    classes in two cities, a multicultural day camp, justice
    studies/ministries on immigration issues, and special
    seasonal campaigns. The Institute’s work has also
    increased the intentionality of conference and district
    leaders in discussing and planning for Hispanic/Latino
    ministries. Another concrete result was the recruitment
    and securing of a second commissioned missionary to
    work in a local setting in Idaho in 2005. This missionary
    has started a number of community ministries including
    ESL and computer classes, a children’s art program,
    clothing bank, counseling group for women, soccer
    league, as well as a worshipping congregation with an
    average weekly attendance of 55.
    Seminary Success Stories
    Enlisting and identifying pastoral leaders has been
    an ongoing challenge for conferences seeking to establish
    and maintain Hispanic/Latino ministries and has
    been critical for the development of those ministries.
    The National Plan grants to seminaries have often been
    the catalyst for starting new and innovative ministries
    addressing this need. Such is the case of a grant given to
    Perkins School of Theology through the General Board
    of Higher Education and Ministry.
    1038 DCA Advance Edition
    In the summer of 2006, the Hispanic Youth
    Leadership Academy graduated its largest class, 54
    Hispanic/Latino youth leaders. The Academy’s coordinator
    reported that these youth have been involved in
    district and conference activities in their respective conferences
    as well as with MARCHA, the national
    Hispanic caucus. Two youth from the Nebraska
    Conference were trained as lay missioners with the
    National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry, and several
    others initiated their preparation processes for candidacy
    into ordained ministry. One of them is now at
    Wesley Seminary in Monterrey, Mexico, and the rest
    continue to explore their call to ministry. The coordinator
    expressed the hope that this Academy “becomes
    embedded in the permanent structure of The United
    Methodist Church because it is profoundly needed
    within our church and more so in our Hispanic community.”
    The Hispanic Youth Leadership Academy is a
    model that could be adapted and used in other conferences.
    National Plan Assessment: Learnings
    In early 2005, the Committee on Hispanic/Latino
    Ministries, responsible for overseeing the implementation
    of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry,
    commissioned a task force to design and to carry out an
    assessment of the National Plan’s implementation. The
    committee believed it was time to do this in order to
    make the necessary adjustments and enhance its development
    and implementation. The task force presented
    its findings to the committee in October 2006.
    The assessment included on-site interviews with
    conference leaders in nine annual conferences, telephone
    interviews with leaders in four other conferences,
    written questionnaires sent to various church leaders,
    including bishops, and information compiled from previous
    conference surveys held in the national office. The
    conferences that were interviewed were selected based
    on a statistical weighing, taking into account the Latino
    population and the Latino United Methodist membership
    within those conferences.
    The task force members interviewed Hispanic/Latino
    pastors, laity, and youth; non-Hispanic/Latino pastors; district
    superintendents; the bishop; and other conference
    leaders in each conference they visited or called. The task
    force collected and analyzed the data to discover how the
    conferences had implemented the National Plan and how
    well the National Plan, as a national strategy, had helped
    them. Since the task force consistently received similar
    feedback from the interviews, and the same feedback
    emerged from the written surveys, the task group is confident
    that its findings are valid, although they are the result
    of an anecdotal, observational, qualitative approach.
    Successes of the National Plan
    Conferences across the denomination universally
    credited the National Plan for stimulating and energizing
    Hispanic/Latino ministry efforts.
  • The National Plan grants have served to jumpstart
    Hispanic/Latino ministries in several conferences,
    opening the door for more comprehensive
    involvement, especially by those that actually
    developed strategic plans for Hispanic/Latino
    ministries as part of the grant application.
  • The National Plan’s recent efforts to develop and
    expand Brazilian ministries have also received
    recognition and praise by the conferences
  • The orientation of conferences, creation of
    resources, and the organizing of lay missioners
    and pastor-mentors training events were
    acknowledged everywhere as very successful.
  • The general agencies have developed and produced
    much more material for Hispanic/Latino
    ministries than they had in the past or would have
    produced had there been no Plan.
  • Many of the conferences visited considered the
    assessment itself to be helpful because it served
    as a catalyst for them to take stock of their
    Hispanic/Latino ministries, celebrating accomplishments,
    networking leaders, regrouping leadership
    teams, and identifying gaps, weaknesses,
    and needed resources from within and beyond the
    Opportunities for Improving the Plan
    The assessment study also revealed some important
    findings related to improving the National Plan’s implementation.
    Among those findings are conceptual misunderstandings
    and challenges to the practical
  • Some conference leaders have misunderstood the
    National Plan as merely a program or a means to
    secure grants for the conferences’ specific
    Hispanic/Latino ministries rather than as means
    to assist conferences in developing a strategic
    plan for Hispanic/Latino ministries.
  • Others have misunderstood the National Plan as
    another denominational congregational development
    program, without taking into account the
    Global Ministries 1039
    outreach and community ministries that are an
    integral part of the National Plan.
  • The conference accompaniment process for the
    conference grants has not been consistently
    implemented, resulting in weak follow-up and
    evaluation of projects.
  • Few conferences have developed and adopted
    comprehensive or strategic plans for the implementation
    of the National Plan.
  • The inability to develop a well-coordinated effort
    to secure pastoral leadership in sufficient numbers
    has adversely affected the development and
    growth of Hispanic/Latino ministries.
    Hispanic/Latino candidates and potential candidates
    for ordained ministry need appropriate
    models for theological education that address
    their socioeconomic, familial, language, and
    legal status realities.
  • The faith community model in many conferences
    is not being implemented or used as originally
    intended. Lay missioners have sometimes been
    used as local pastors without appropriate training,
    support, and guidance. The relationship
    between the lay missioners and their pastor-mentors
    is vital to the successful establishment and
    continuing growth of faith communities. In the
    cases where this relationship has been nonexistent
    or barely existent, those ministries have been
  • Non-Hispanic/Latino churches reaching out to
    Hispanics/Latinos need more resources, although
    some regional training events have taken place.
    In particular resources are needed that are aimed
    at developing intercultural competency skills and
    to sustaining ongoing ministries.
  • There is a need for developing leadership and
    providing resources for ministries with second
    and third generation Hispanic/Latino persons and
  • The church needs to be engaged in the current
    critical social issues affecting Hispanic/Latino
    communities for at least two reasons: one, to
    accompany those communities in their daily
    struggle for basic human rights as Jesus taught
    us; and two, to accompany the clergy and lay
    leaders emerging from those communities as they
    develop ministries and their own leadership
    through The United Methodist Church. As part of
    this engagement in social issues, the communityorganizing
    dimension of such work needs to be
    highlighted and strengthened.
    Future Opportunity
    We celebrate with joy what has been accomplished
    through the grace of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit
    during this quadrennium. We see the fruits of the work that
    has been done in the immediate past. We know that as
    young plants need to be nurtured to give fruit in abundance,
    our church needs to nurture what has been planted and is
    growing. The assessment process was invaluable to help the
    Committee on Hispanic/Latino Ministries identify the
    Plan’s weaknesses and focus on corrective strategies that
    will ensure the consolidation of the work that has been
    done. The National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry, with
    the hard-won accomplishments and lessons of this quadrennium
    and the previous ones, has a valuable contribution to
    make in the future as The United Methodist Church ministers
    with and among Hispanic/Latino communities. The
    continued, dramatic growth of the Hispanic/Latino population
    in the US is an opportunity that the Lord has given us
    to reach out to new people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    Let us rejoice in the fruits and let us go forward, planting,
    nurturing, and harvesting.
    Projected # of
    Conference Latinos by 2011
    California-Pacific 10,247,045
    Rio Grande** 10,020,168
    California-Nevada 4,724,971
    Southwest Texas 3,680,861
    New York 3,545,896
    Desert Southwest 2,747,273
    Florida 2,657,414
    Texas 2,413,080
    Northern Illinois 1,893,911
    New Mexico 1,680,429
    Greater New Jersey 1,546,426
    Rocky Mountain 1,446,966
    North Texas 1,383,387
    Central Texas 862,411
    New England 811,985
    North Georgia 754,518
    Pacific Northwest 663,584
    Virginia 586,733
    Oregon-Idaho 584,237
    ** Note: The Rio Grande Conference covers the geographic
    area of Texas and New Mexico.
    1040 DCA Advance Edition
    The vision of the National Plan, based on the experience
    of the Holy Spirit’s power on the day of
    Pentecost, is to be the “Church for all the Nations.” It is
    a vision of “a dynamic and growing church, joyously
    sharing and living the good news of Jesus Christ in a
    multiplicity of places . . . and in a variety of cultural settings,”
    (1992 National Plan Report) that affirms the cultural
    identities and not just the language of those among
    whom we are called to witness. The vision is then of a
    church where all persons may be able to experience the
    transforming power of the good news of the gospel in
    their own language and in their own cultural context and
    The National Plan envisions a church where persons
    are empowered by the Holy Spirit to announce the
    good news of the reign of God and to become instruments
    of healing and agents of both personal and social
    transformation. The National Plan envisions the Holy
    Spirit transforming persons into communities of faith,
    the church, that transcend their ethnic, cultural, geographic,
    and religious limitations to become transformed
    into a movement and a pilgrim people as it multiplies
    itself and extends itself from “. . . Jerusalem, Judea,
    Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). We
    understand the church as a people of God that is
    prophetic because God seeks the transformation of our
    world. The National Plan envisions that everyone in the
    church is called to fulfill its mission of making disciples
    of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. It is,
    therefore, the vision of a church that both affirms and
    practices the priesthood of all believers. It is the vision
    of a church whose organizational and institutional
    nature, while necessary for the fulfillment of its mission,
    becomes secondary to its organic, missional, and movement
    To move further toward this vision, the National
    Plan sees the next quadrennium as a time to move out
    into the barrios and cities from the Upper Room where
    we have been preparing ourselves for the task of transformation.
    Having spent a year engaged in a lengthy
    process of analysis and listening to the reflections of people
    engaged in Hispanic/Latino ministries within annual
    conferences, we are proposing several new directions in
    the work of the National Plan. Having heard that annual
    conferences are asking for more regular communications
    and accompañamiento, we are proposing to increase the
    national office’s communications capacity as well as the
    capacity to provide ongoing accompañamiento to annual
    conferences. Our assessment revealed the urgent need to
    provide greater access to seminary education for
    Hispanic/Latino clergy. Therefore we intend to emphasize
    the creation of new models of pastoral education
    appropriate for the Hispanic/Latino context. Recognizing
    that immigration will continue to define the Hispanic
    community, we will encourage more congregations
    throughout the church to become engaged in providing
    varying forms of hospitality to the new arrivals along
    with actively addressing other social concerns within
    Hispanic/Latino communities.
    We realize that the well-being of the immigrant
    generation will enable the second generation to flourish.
    Just as Jeremiah (29:28) urged the exiles to prosper in a
    foreign land by raising their children and seeking the
    well-being of the land in which they were living,
    Hispanics/Latinos must do the same in the US. The
    number of second-generation Hispanics/Latinos aged 5
    to 19 years old is projected to more than double between
    2000 and 2020, growing from 4.4 million to 9.0 million
    people, so that US-born Hispanics/Latinos will make up
    one in every seven children entering school over the next
    20 years. It is now time for all of our churches to develop
    ministry strategies aimed at working with the second
    generation, 93% of whom are either bilingual or
    English-dominant speakers. They are also much bettereducated
    than their immigrant parents, with 44% of
    them having completed some college education or more.
    The continued growth of the Hispanic/Latino population
    in the US and its multicultural nature and the
    divine mandate to proclaim the gospel to all peoples
    reaffirm the vision of the National Plan for
    Hispanic/Latino Ministry, a vision which has guided it
    since its beginnings. The United Methodist Church,
    through its annual conferences in the US, must take seriously
    the demographic realities that all conferences are
    facing. Over 70% (or 44 out of 61) of these conferences
    are projected to have over 100,000 Hispanics/Latinos by
    2011. By the same year, over 30% of them (19) are projected
    to have over 500,000 Hispanics/Latinos. This
    population growth is an opportunity for our church to
    Recommended Plan of Action for the National Plan for
    Hispanic/Latino Ministry for the 2009–2012 Quadrennium
    Global Ministries 1041
    continue to respond to Christ’s calling to collaborate in
    His ministry of reaching all people with the gospel,
    making disciples for the transformation of the world, a
    world that God has loved so much that the Word was
    made flesh.
    The National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry
    continues its deep commitment to assign and accompany
    annual conferences in the development and
    strengthening of Hispanic/Latino ministries. We understand
    and value the significant role that annual conferences
    fulfill as the basic unit of our connection. It is
    through our partnerships with annual conferences that
    the National Plan has been implemented and come to
    fruition. It has also been through the relationship with
    annual conferences that we have come to know and
    understand the direction that God is leading us as we
    move into a new quadrennium. We believe that God is
    leading us to commit our resources of time, leaders, and
    finances to four national strategies:
  • Congregational development,
  • Advocacy regarding immigration and other critical
    social issues,
  • Mobilization and acompañamiento (accompaniment)
    of annual conferences and local churches,
  • Lay and clergy leadership formation.
    We propose to accompany annual conferences in
    their journeys with Hispanic/Latino ministries primarily
    through a cadre of national missionaries who will focus
    on congregational development in Hispanic/Latino contexts,
    immigration, and mobilization. We pray for the
    wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit that we may be
    faithful to God’s leadership.
    National Strategy
    Development of New Congregations
    From the National Plan’s perspective, we understand
    the creation of new congregations is not an end in
    itself. Rather, new congregations are strategic arenas
    through which the extension of the good news of the
    gospel can occur; they are places where we can “bring
    good news to the poor, . . . proclaim release to the captives
    and recovery of sight to the blind . . . let the
    oppressed go free, and . . . proclaim the year of the
    Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18b-19). Creating new congregations,
    therefore, is more than establishing another institution.
    It is an opportunity to create a community of
    faith, the place where the church seeks to fulfill its mission—
    making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation
    of the world.
    The National Plan has a contribution to make to the
    national and denominational dialogue related to establishing
    new congregations, and that contribution is the
    planning of faith communities or the formation of small
    evangelistic groups, meeting in homes, businesses, public
    buildings, and other places. The faith communities
    are created:
  • To “worship . . . God and . . . study the Scriptures
    . . . and seek to do God’s will . . . in their own setting.”
  • To the extent that they multiply, to “promote full
    congregational development by sharing their
    faith, inviting others to follow the Lord, and seeking
    ways to be involved in whatever forms of
    ministry and advocacy for justice the Lord
    requires in their communities.”
  • To “understand themselves as centers for evangelism,
    mission action, and mission training,
    both at the local level and globally.”
  • To contribute, from the very outset, “to their support
    as well as to the total mission of the church.”
    Faith communities “will be organically related to
    existing charges . . . until . . . they may develop into congregations,
    or join other similar groups to form a new
    congregation.” [The National Plan for Hispanic/Latino
    Ministry of The United Methodist Church
    , pp. 69-70.]
    Starting new faith communities and new congregations,
    we understand, can begin with a local church, district,
    or other sponsors, but they need to seek
    connectional collaboration to ensure their support, nurture,
    and growth. We recommend a process of acompañamiento
    (accompaniment) for a new faith
    community’s, or a new congregation’s, theological-doctrinal,
    missional and disciple-making, and organizational
    Development of Ministry on Immigration
    and Other Social Issues
    An integral part to the development of new congregations
    is the development of community ministries or,
    in other words, justice ministries that seek to transform
    and eradicate poverty, racism, and cultural, social, and
    economic marginalization that impoverished people suffer;
    particularly the ethnic minority population of this
    1042 DCA Advance Edition
    According to the Census Bureau, half of the
    Hispanic/Latino population growth up to 2000 exists
    because of the birth rate, but the other half occurred
    because of immigration. Global immigration is transforming
    the US and other countries in profound ways.
    While the number of immigrants coming into this country
    has already peaked, according to the Census
    Bureau’s projections, it will continue to have a significant
    impact on the population growth of this country. It
    is becoming a basic reality that will influence the future
    economic, political, social, and cultural development of
    this country, provoking changes to which the church
    will also have to respond.
    The United Methodist Church has approached
    immigration as a moral and national policy issue. In
    1988, the Council of Bishops issued a pastoral letter on
    immigration entitled, “On Undocumented Migration: To
    Love the Sojourner,” and the General Conference has
    enacted a series of resolutions on immigration. The
    church’s intent has been clear as Leviticus 19:33-34
    teaches, “When an alien resides with you in your land,
    you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides
    with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you
    shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the
    land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” However, this
    intent has not always born fruit in local settings where
    United Methodists encounter immigrants in their daily
    At a time when our country continues to experience
    the influx of immigrants, particularly Latinos, a flurry of
    anti-immigrant propaganda, stepped-up border enforcement,
    and debate of local and federal immigration legislation,
    the National Plan proposes to intensify its focus
    and commitment to developing a national strategy and
    ministries at local church and conference levels to work
    in support of immigrants within our denomination. The
    National Plan recommends developing community centers,
    to offer legal assistance and training opportunities,
    and to seek the empowerment that facilitates and allows
    immigrants to live and enjoy fully their basic human
    rights. Our hope and goal would be that both local
    Hispanic/Latino and non-Hispanic/Latino United
    Methodist churches will become known in their communities
    as places where immigrants are welcomed and
    included in our congregational life so they can find
    refuge and support. Our commitment is to work with
    other United Methodist and ecumenical leaders of comprehensive
    immigration reform that brings justice to all
    people. For such work, we believe that collaborating and
    networking with Justice for Our Neighbors and other
    ecumenical organizations with aims similar to ours can
    increase our effectiveness and expand our reach. We
    understand that this is what God requires of us as people
    of God.
    As United Methodists we believe that: “Racism
    plagues and cripples our growth in Christ, inasmuch as
    it is antithetical to the gospel itself” (Social Principles of
    The United Methodist Church, paragraph 162A). We
    know racism to be a sin, for all persons are of sacred
    worth. We call upon persons and every social institution
    to work against any and all forms of racism. At the same
    time we recognize that the church is not yet free of its
    own institutional racism. The United Methodist Church
    has not always known how to welcome all of God’s children
    and has all too often excluded some because of
    their culture and the color of their skin. The National
    Plan for Hispanic/ Latino Ministry exhorts our church to
    continue aggressively addressing the elimination of the
    sin of racism, in society and within the church. The
    National Plan commits to assisting the church in reaching
    this mighty goal for the healing of the community of
    faith and the world.
    As an immigrant people, many of whom are not yet
    citizens, Hispanics/Latinos suffer from low levels of
    education, economic exploitation, and a lack of access
    to quality healthcare. Table I gives a comparative look at
    the well-being of Hispanics/Latinos compared to other
    major groups in the American population. The low levels
    of education among Hispanics/Latinos stand out
    sharply as a major concern. The low incomes of
    Hispanics/Latinos and African-Americans have serious
    healthcare consequences for both communities.
    Global Ministries 1043
    The Plan will encourage an increased focus on the
    myriad of social concerns present within
    Hispanic/Latino communities. The National Plan recommends
    that we continue to work with the General
    Board of Church and Society as it develops our church’s
    responses to various social, immigration, and justice
    issues that arise. The National Plan also is proposing
    encouraging and promoting community organizing and
    networking at the local and state level in collaboration
    with other community entities that share our values and
    concerns on specific issues.
    Annual Conference and Local Church
    Mobilization and Acompañamiento
    The experience of the past quadrennium has confirmed
    for us that as we work together, holding up the
    vision of God’s preferred future for us and all of creation,
    God accompanies us with mercy and faithfulness.
    God’s faithfulness inspires us to a full commitment to
    God’s hope for us. We must do no less than faithful
    work that is strategic in nature, not merely activism, and
    that brings God’s transforming power to local churches
    and communities. Such strategic and transforming work
    implies self-reflection and concerted analysis of our
    contexts of ministry so that relevant and helpful models
    of ministry can be created for service to the world in the
    name of Jesus Christ. It is not work that can be done
    Accompanying each other in this vital and important
    work of God has led the National Plan to the development
    of a process called “mobilization.” The process
    of mobilization is grounded in the commitment to
    accompany annual conferences and local churches as
    they seek to be faithful to God.
    Mobilization implies a movement not only of a few
    leaders at the conference, district, or local level, but a
    movement of the people of God, of the whole church, of
    those who have committed their lives to Jesus Christ. It
    is a movement of a believing people, that they may fulfill
    their calling to the priesthood of all believers. This
    process is implemented in the different levels of the
    church. This transforming dynamic of acompañamiento,
    or accompaniment, will be done through the work of the
    general agencies under the direction of the National
    Committee of Hispanic/ Latino Ministry. The National
    Plan proposes to enter into a covenant of collaboration
    and mission with a number of annual conferences.
    These annual conferences will be selected on the basis
    of population concentration and growth and readiness to
    develop and implement the proposed quadrennial goals
    described below.
    Conference Mobilization
    The 2005–2006 assessment showed that working
    with the bishops, cabinets, and conference leaders, particularly
    the conference committee that oversees the
    planning, development, and implementation of
    Hispanic/Latino ministries, is vital to mobilizing conferences
    and local churches for this work. The National
    Plan commits to work with conference and local church
    leaders through the services of consultants and facilitators
    to assist annual conferences in the formulation and
    implementation of strategic conference plans for min-
    1044 DCA Advance Edition
    Table I: Educational Attainment and Medium Family Income
    Percent High School Percent Bachelor’s Median Family
    Graduate or more Degree or more Income
    Hispanic 52 10 $34,397
    Mexican only 46 8 $33,518
    Asian 80 44 $59,324
    African-American 72 14 $33,255
    White 84 26 $53,029
    Total 80 24 $50,046
    Source: We the People and Statistical Abstract of the United States 2004-2005 Census 2000 Summary File 3.
    istries with the Hispanic/Latino population.
    Consequently, as it did in the 2005–2008 proposal
    approved by the 2004 General Conference, the National
    Plan recommends that conferences form and organize a
    committee on Hispanic/Latino ministries, or its equivalent,
    to develop and implement their conference strategic
    The 2004 General Conference also called for every
    conference to develop a strategic, comprehensive plan
    for ministries with Hispanics/Latinos. (See “Annual
    Conference Strategic, Comprehensive Plans for
    Hispanic/Latino-Latina Ministries,” The Book of
    Resolutions of The United Methodist Church, 2004,
    138-140.) In the acompañamiento and mobilization
    process, it is critical that the National Plan’s consultants
    relate to these committees because these committees are
    the leaders who provide direct planning and follow-up
    for the conference’s Hispanic/Latino ministries. Such a
    committee shall be composed of persons representing
    local Hispanic/Latino ministries, representing districts
    where there are significant concentrations of
    Hispanic/Latino populations, and district superintendents
    and appropriate conference staff to provide linkages
    to conference structures, personnel, and resources.
    This committee shall reflect the diversity of the
    conference. Such a committee shall have five basic tasks
    related to Hispanic/Latino ministries: interpreting and
    advocating, strategic planning, providing for appropriate
    leadership training, securing needed resources, and
    monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the
    conference strategic plan. The National Plan further
    commits to accompany annual conferences and local
    churches through seed money grants, print and multimedia
    resources, training opportunities, and ongoing
    accompaniment through its consultants and other personnel.
    For targeted conferences, such training may be
    Local Church Mobilization
    The National Plan affirms the local church as the
    basic context in which ministry happens and where “the
    church encounters the world.” The local church “is the
    strategic base from which Christians move out to the
    structures of society” (The Book of Discipline, 2004,
    ΒΆ202) to transform the world. Both established
    Hispanic/Latino churches and non-Hispanic/Latino
    churches must mobilize.
    The National Plan proposes to continue to assist a
    number of established Hispanic/Latino churches in different
    conferences in order to accompany them in a
    process of revitalization and/or transformation so that
    they can become missional churches. This revitalization
    process is known as the “Congregational Mobilization
    Process.” Through this Congregational Mobilization
    Process, the National Plan proposes to introduce these
    local churches to a transformation process that will help
    them analyze themselves and their communities, formulate
    a strategic local missional plan for their churches,
    train their leaders for their designed ministries, and
    implement their plan. Through this process, the National
    Plan proposes to provide consultants that will accompany
    these congregations as they revitalize their mission
    and ministries and become centers of evangelization, of
    justice, of domestic and global mission, for equipping
    leaders, and of worship and nurture.
    The National Plan proposes to strengthen the engagement
    of non-Hispanic/Latino churches through training
    events, print and multimedia materials, a methodology of
    work, and an accompaniment process. It will follow-up
    with those leaders already trained for this cross-cultural
    work and expand its efforts in order to include and incorporate
    new leaders. The National Plan will enter into collaboration
    with non-Hispanic/Latino churches, selected
    according to the concentration of the Hispanic/Latino population,
    in different conferences or geographic areas, in
    order that they may initiate new, and strengthen existing,
    faith communities and community ministries.
    The National Plan will offer non-Hispanic/Latino
    churches training events designed to deepen cultural
    sensitivity and to develop intercultural competency,
    including skills for intercultural communication. Such
    training will help develop and strengthen relationships
    between Hispanic/Latino and non-Hispanic/Latino persons
    and churches, thus strengthening new and existing
    Hispanic/Latino faith communities and congregations
    and/or community ministries, and equip lay missioners
    and pastor-mentor teams for the ministry of building
    faith communities and/or community ministries. In this
    way non-Hispanic/Latino churches will be able to
    accompany the development of faith communities and
    community ministries in culturally appropriate ways.
    Leadership Formation
    One of the National Plan’s priorities in the upcoming
    quadrennium is opening broader ministry training
    opportunities for Hispanic/Latino clergy. In past quadrennia
    great emphasis has been placed on lay missioner
    training. However, the National Committee on
    Hispanic/Latino Ministry’s detailed assessment con-
    Global Ministries 1045
    ducted in 2005–2006 identified clergy training as a critical
    shortcoming that is holding back the growth of
    Hispanic/Latino ministry in The United Methodist
    Church. Currently about 28% of Hispanic/Latino pastors
    nationally are serving as local pastors, but in some
    conferences where Hispanic/Latino ministry has
    recently begun, the percentage is much higher. The danger
    exists of Hispanic/Latino pastors becoming a second-
    class clergy group in our denomination.
    In a study report entitled “A Demographic Profile
    of Latino/Seminarians,” the Latino Institute at the
    University of Notre Dame found that Latino/as remain
    the most underrepresented minority group in US seminaries
    and schools of theology. The report asserts that
    “cultivating a vibrant and well-trained cadre of Latino
    religious leaders is critical for the vitality of the US
    Latino community.” Indeed, the study concludes that
    “ensuring that the diversity of the Latino community is
    reflected in the leadership of American Christian congregations
    is critical for the health of both our religious
    communities and our broader public discourse.”6
    We are encouraged by the success of the vocational
    discernment program for Hispanic youth at Perkins
    School of Theology and the Hispanic Academy created
    by Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary and the
    Northern Illinois Conference. These two programs are
    good examples of innovative approaches to the recruitment,
    training, and mentoring of a new generation of
    Hispanic/Latino pastoral leaders. Since Hispanics/
    Latinos are a very youthful population, it will be important
    to build strong programs that begin mentoring youth
    in high school, following them through college into
    Nevertheless, many conference leaders, in their
    eagerness to secure a pastoral leader, have recruited pastors
    from other denominations and other countries. Even
    though the National Plan has designed, through the
    General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, an
    intensive workshop to assist such pastors to become oriented
    and acclimated to the US and the United
    Methodist ethos, doctrine, polity, and practice, very few
    conferences have sent these recruited pastoral leaders to
    these periodic workshops. The lack of such training and
    orientation results in frustration, disappointment, and
    wasted resources at the local level.
    The existing established pathways to ordination
    within The United Methodist Church that require formal
    seminary training are ill-suited to the reality of both the
    native-born and foreign-born Hispanic/Latino population.
    Too many highly gifted, committed
    Hispanic/Latino leaders lack the educational credentials,
    English language skills, finances, and sometimes
    the legal residency status, to attend seminary. A selected
    survey in our denomination a few years ago revealed
    that the Course of Study School, currently offered in
    Spanish in three of our United Methodist seminaries,
    was the primary route for theological education for
    about three-fourths (76%) of the present and past
    Hispanic/Latino pastors. Currently, United Methodist
    seminaries do not accept Course of Study credits as
    transferable toward a Master of Divinity degree, even
    though other seminaries do accept these credits. Many
    Boards of Ordained Ministry are skeptical of candidates
    who come from nontraditional programs outside the
    United Methodist system of seminary education. For
    Hispanic/Latino pastors who are interested in pastoral
    ministry, the traditional three- or four-year seminary
    curriculum is not workable when they have to support
    their families and have limited economic resources. This
    has led some of these promising Hispanic/Latino candidates
    to leave our denomination for those in which seminaries
    are more flexible and supportive. For others,
    more recently, lay missioner training has become the
    initial pathway into pastoral ministry and the only theological
    training provided by our denomination for some
    local pastors.
    The National Plan recommends that our church
    seek new and innovative approaches to opening wider
    access to theological education for the preparation of
    clergy for our local churches, annual conferences, and
    denomination. During the next quadrennium, the
    National Plan proposes to research alternative theological
    educational models that may help open new opportunities
    for a larger number of Hispanic/Latino pastors
    to obtain the necessary credentials for pastoral work. It
    also proposes to seek United Methodist undergraduate
    institutions that could combine undergraduate and
    Master of Divinity degrees. The National Plan will work
    with the General Board of Higher Education and
    Ministry to use its seminary and institute grants to
    encourage new, innovative, nontraditional pathways to
    Master of Divinity completion, including recognition of
    Course of Study credits.
    With regard to lay leadership development, the
    National Plan proposes to update its basic Lay
    Missioner and Pastor-Mentor Teams Training Program
    in collaboration with the General Board of Discipleship,
    and to continue to develop more specialized program-
    1046 DCA Advance Edition
    matic training for mission leaders through the development
    of new Module III workshops in collaboration
    with the four general program agencies. The ministry of
    the lay missioner is a team ministry with the pastormentor
    to establish faith communities and community
    ministries. The relationship of the lay missioner and the
    pastor-mentor is critical to starting and sustaining successful
    ministries. One of the weaknesses the National
    Plan’s assessment noted was the absence of pastor-mentors
    assigned to work with a lay missioner or the poor
    quality of the relationship due to language, culture, and
    understanding of the purpose of the team. Therefore in
    the updating of existing workshops and the creation of
    new workshops, attention must be paid to utilizing the
    workshops to cultivate a healthy team relationship and
    to build a network of teams for mutual support. To help
    improve and expand the Training Program, National
    Plan proposes to continue to recruit, equip, and update
    facilitators and consultants to assist in leading these
    workshops in different conferences and geographic
    regions of the country as well as build a network of support.
    In the mobilization and acompañamiento process
    discussed in the previous section, it is critical that the
    National Plan’s consultants relate to the conference
    committees for Hispanic/Latino ministries because
    these committees are the leaders who provide direct
    planning and follow-up for the conference’s
    Hispanic/Latino ministries. The National Plan proposes
    to continue recruiting, equipping, and updating consultants
    who assist annual conferences in developing and
    implementing their strategic plans.
    The National Plan also proposes to design and
    implement training for conference committees for
    Hispanic/Latino ministries. For some targeted conferences,
    such training may be required.
    The National Plan also proposes to recruit, train,
    and deploy a core of new leaders in the development of
    community ministries to assist both conferences and
    local churches. A core group of missionaries is also proposed
    to help coordinate and implement the various programmatic
    thrusts of the National Plan, working under
    the guidance of the National Committee of
    Hispanic/Latino Ministries, the entity responsible for
    overseeing the implementation of the National Plan. In
    addition to equipping conference leaders, the National
    Plan intends to continue recruiting, equipping, and
    updating consultants who assist local churches in the
    Congregational Mobilization Process.
    Goals for 2009–2012
    Moving forward into the future, the National Plan
    for Hispanic/Latino Ministry affirms the following goals
    for the 2009–2012 quadrennium:
    Congregational Development
  • Charter 75 new Hispanic/Latino churches.
  • Form 500 new faith communities.
  • Accompany 100 congregations in the Congregational
    Mobilization Process to revitalize their
    Immigration Ministry and Other
    Critical Social Issues
  • Develop, test, implement, and evaluate a number
    of models for dealing with immigration, justice,
    and other critical social issues.
  • Strengthen our collaboration with the Justice for
    Our Neighbors project in order to serve a greater
    number of communities addressing immigration
  • Create and nurture national, regional, and local
    partnerships and networks between local congregations
    and community-organizing groups or networks
    and other grassroots organizations and
    groups dealing with immigration and other critical
    social issues.
    Annual Conference and Local Church
  • Identify and train new potential transforming lay
    and clergy leaders for Hispanic/Latino ministries.
  • Enhance and develop Module III workshops and
    materials on new congregational development, on
    immigration, and other critical social issues with
    an emphasis on values, cultural needs, and
    socioeconomic realities.
  • Assist a number of annual conferences to develop
    a strategic plan for Hispanic/Latino ministries
    focused on congregational development, immigration,
    social justice, and leadership development
    and accompany these conferences in the
    implementation and evaluation of their plans.
    Leadership Formation Goals
  • Develop, test, implement, and evaluate at least
    one alternative model to traditional seminary
    education for providing theological education to
    Hispanic/Latino pastors on the pathway to ordination.
    Global Ministries 1047
  • Continue to equip lay missioners and pastormentor
    teams, facilitators, consultants, commissioned
    missionaries and other leaders and to
    assist them in forming a network for mutual
    strengthening, updating, and cross-fertilization of
    ideas and models for Hispanic/Latino ministries.
  • Identify, train, and deploy 50 commissioned missionaries
    to provide leadership in
    Hispanic/Latino ministries with special focus on
    congregational development, immigration and
    other critical social issues, and conference
    accompaniment and local church mobilization.
  • Train and equip conference committees on
    Hispanic/Latino ministries, conference staff and
    other lay and clergy leaders of Hispanic/Latino
    ministries, according to the priorities of the
    National Plan.
    Supporting Structures and Resources
    General Agencies
    The mission of The United Methodist Church is to
    make disciples of Jesus Christ to transform the world.
    It is a mission that calls us forward and beyond the
    church walls into the community, in this case, the
    Hispanic/Latino community. In this effort to reach all
    people and transform the world, the National Plan for
    Hispanic/Latino Ministry continues to be a ministry of
    the whole church. With the hard-won experience of the
    previous quadrennia, the National Plan believes that
    God is calling us to a more focused work in developing
    new congregations, ministry in immigration and
    other critical social issues, leadership formation, and
    working with annual conferences and local churches in
    strategic and transformative ways. We must press
    ahead in our discipleship, moving toward maturity in
    collaborating with God to transform the world. In the
    past, the representatives of the general program agencies
    who have worked on various elements of the
    National Plan in collaboration with the National
    Committee on Hispanic/Latino Ministries have shown
    creativity and effectiveness in this collaborative
    process. We are confident that, by God’s grace, the
    general agencies will again show creativity and effectiveness
    as the National Plan moves in these new directions,
    together holding a vision of the church as a sign
    of the reign of God in the midst of the Hispanic/Latino
    community and our nation.
    Under the guidance of the National Committee on
    Hispanic/Latino Ministries, each agency will continue
    to fulfill its unique responsibilities to the National Plan
    and to the previously mentioned strategies, as described
    in the following paragraphs.
    The General Board of Church and Society will:
  • In ongoing consultation with the National
    Committee on Hispanic/Latino Ministries, design
    and implement Module III workshops related to
    the systemic and structural issues affecting
    Hispanics/Latinos and immigration, healthcare,
    education, unemployment, and housing issues;
  • In ongoing consultation with the National
    Committee on Hispanic/Latino Ministries, design
    and implement orientation and training events for
    local church leaders on critical immigration
    issues, and design and implement advocacy
    strategies for such issues;
  • Collaborate with the National Committee on
    Hispanic/Latino Ministries and other general
    agencies to design, test, and perfect model programs
    and resources to respond to identified
    needs in implementing the National Plan.
    The General Board of Discipleship will:
  • In ongoing consultation with the National
    Committee on Hispanic/Latino Ministries, design
    and update Module I and II for the lay missioners
    and pastor-mentor teams and design and implement
    Module III in areas of ministry related to making
    disciples for the transformation of the world;
  • In ongoing collaboration with the General Board
    of Global Ministries, resource the revitalizing
    and mobilizing of Hispanic/Latino congregations,
    particularly through the Congregational
    Mobilization Process described earlier in the
    National Plan;
  • Update existing resources, design and produce
    new resources, and design and implement training
    events to equip leaders of non-
    Hispanic/Latino churches for transformative
    ministries with Hispanic/Latino peoples;
  • In ongoing collaboration with the General Board
    of Global Ministries, design and produce multimedia
    resources and implement training events
    for the conference committees responsible for
    implementing the National Plan;
  • In ongoing collaboration with the General Board
    of Global Ministries, design and produce
    resource materials and implement orientation and
    training events for conference and local church
    leaders on starting and strengthening new
    Hispanic/Latino congregations and churches;
    1048 DCA Advance Edition
  • Collaborate with the National Committee on
    Hispanic/Latino Ministries and other general
    agencies to design, test, and perfect model programs
    and resources to respond to identified
    needs in implementing the National Plan.
    The General Board of Global Ministries will:
  • Provide a process of acompañamiento (accompanying)
    to assist annual conferences to develop
    and assess their strategic plans for starting new
    congregations based on guidelines developed
    under the direction of the National Committee on
    Hispanic/Latino Ministries and provide matching
    grants to conferences for congregational development,
    immigration and critical social justice
    needs, and leadership formation;
  • In ongoing collaboration with the General Board
    of Discipleship, resource the revitalizing and
    mobilizing of Hispanic/Latino congregations,
    particularly through the Congregational
    Mobilization Process described earlier in the
    National Plan;
  • In ongoing consultation with the National
    Committee on Hispanic/Latino Ministries,
    update, design and implement Module III in
    areas of ministry related to community ministries,
    immigration issues, and justice ministries
    for the transformation of the world;
  • In ongoing consultation and collaboration with
    the National Committee on Hispanic/Latino
    Ministries, continue to identify placement opportunities
    for missionaries who support the
    National Plan’s stated strategies, priorities, and
    goals (i.e. congregational development, immigration
    and other critical social issues, and conference
    accompaniment and local church
    mobilization), and continue to recruit, train, commission,
    deploy, and accompany at least 50 missionaries;
  • Continue to promote and administer the
    Challenge Fund;
  • Collaborate with the National Committee on
    Hispanic/Latino Ministries and other general
    agencies to design, test, and perfect model programs
    and resources to respond to identified
    needs in implementing the National Plan.
    The General Board of Higher Education and
    Ministry will:
  • In ongoing collaboration with and under the
    guidance of established guidelines of the
    National Committee on Hispanic/Latino
    Ministries, provide pastoral leadership grants to
    United Methodist seminaries and related institutes
    and training centers to seek alternative models
    for the equipping of Hispanic/Latino
    candidates for the ordained ministry, and for
    enlisting and assisting them through the candidacy
    process and academic and theological
  • In ongoing collaboration with and under the
    guidance of established guidelines of the
    National Committee on Hispanic/Latino
    Ministries, provide grants to enable consultations
    with the directors and faculty of the Course of
    Study in Spanish to review the curriculum to
    reflect the National Plan’s priorities and goals,
    and to coordinate and upgrade the academic quality
    of the Spanish language Course of Study,
    making it more relevant to the Hispanic/Latino
    community and context;
  • In ongoing consultation with the National
    Committee, update the design and implement
    training events, and produce resources for pastors
    serving in The United Methodist Church coming
    from other countries and denominations in order
    to help them grow in their understanding of the
    Hispanic/Latino culture and the context in the US
    and the doctrine and polity of The United
    Methodist Church;
  • Under the direction of the National Committee,
    form a task force to design, test, implement, and
    evaluate at least one alternative model of theological
    education for Hispanic/Latino pastors
    with undergraduate United Methodist colleges,
    seminaries, and training centers that facilitate
    these pastors’ movement toward ordination;
  • Offer Module III workshops in annual conferences
    to strengthen The United Methodist
    Church’s understanding of Hispanic/Latino theology,
    spirituality, and ethos as well as its understanding
    of the Hispanic/Latino United
    Methodist community’s contribution to the overall
    United Methodist ethos;
  • Collaborate with the National Committee on
    Hispanic/Latino Ministries and other general
    agencies to design, test, and perfect model programs
    and resources to respond to identified
    needs in implementing the National Plan.
    National Coordination
    To support and coordinate the implementation of
    the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry, we recommend
    the continuation of a national office headed by
    Global Ministries 1049
    a coordinator and guided by a national committee.
    Several factors make coordination of the National Plan
    an important and necessary function. A coordinator is
    needed to work with all the general agencies and annual
    conferences of the church. We recommend that the
    office and coordinator continue to be located at the
    General Board of Global Ministries.
    Having done an extensive assessment of
    Hispanic/Latino ministry, the National Plan for
    Hispanic/Latino Ministry recognizes the need for ongoing
    assessment and research of our denomination’s work
    among Hispanics/Latinos. There is a strong desire to
    learn from examples of successful Hispanic/Latino ministry,
    which need to be collected and disseminated on an
    ongoing basis.
    We recommend that the National Committee on
    Hispanic/Latino Ministries continue to be the entity
    responsible for overseeing and guiding the implementation
    of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry
    and that it be composed of fifteen members as follows:
  • Two bishops named by the Council of Bishops,
    attending with funds from the Episcopal Fund;
  • One representative from, and named by, MARCHA
    (Metodistas Asociados Representado la
    Causa Hispano-Americana);
  • One representative from, and named by, the Rio
    Grande Conference;
  • One elected board member from the general program
    boards: Church and Society, Discipleship,
    Global Ministries, and Higher Education and
    Ministry; all to be selected and funded by their
    respective agencies;
  • Up to seven at-large members, selected by the
    National Committee on Hispanic/Latino
    Ministries to reflect the varied constituency of The
    United Methodist Church with regard to gender,
    age, lay versus clergy status, Hispanic/Latinos and
    non-Hispanics, with jurisdictional inclusiveness as
    well. At least one shall be a person involved with
    Brazilian ministries in the US;
  • In addition to committee members, at least one
    staff person from each of the program agencies
    who has responsibility for Hispanic/Latino ministries
    within the general program agency (and
    other staff resource persons as may be needed)
    will be invited to serve on the committee with
    voice but not vote, all to be selected and funded
    by their respective agencies;
  • A representative from The United Methodist
    Publishing House, United Methodist
    Communications, the General Commission on
    Religion and Race, and the General Commission
    on the Status and Role of Women will be invited
    to the committee meetings as monitors, all to be
    selected and funded by their respective agency.
    The National Committee on
    Hispanic/Latino Ministries
    Functions and Responsibilities:
  • To set policy and direction for the development,
    implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of
    the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry;
  • To lead the church in the development of guidelines
    for grants and programs for Hispanic/Latino
    ministries with the general agencies, seminaries,
    annual conferences, training centers, and others
    responsible for implementing components of the
    National Plan;
  • To coordinate responses to the National Plan of
    all the general agencies and annual conferences
    and facilitate interagency collaboration;
  • To monitor and assist in the evaluation of programs
    in Hispanic/Latino ministries by the general
    agencies and annual conferences;
  • To give direction and support to the office of the
    National Plan;
  • To undertake program initiatives in response to
    identified needs in collaboration with the general
    program agencies, seminaries, training centers,
    and annual conferences, and to provide final
    approval of the distribution of grant funds allocated
    to the National Plan;
  • To revise the existing guidelines as needed for the
    Challenge Fund and to assist in the promotion of
    the Fund;
  • To promote and support the necessary ongoing
    research on issues affecting Hispanic/Latino
    communities and the mission of The United
    Methodist Church in these communities;
  • To build a strong relationship with the holistic
    plan for Latin America because of the global
    nature of these ministries;
  • To send a representative to the United Methodist
    national task force on immigration; and
  • To make an oral report, in addition to a written
    report, to the 2012 General Conference of The
    United Methodist Church.
    1050 DCA Advance Edition
    A Time to Reap
    By the grace of God and empowered by the Holy
    Spirit, our hope is that through this National Plan for
    Hispanic/Latino Ministry we might contribute to the fulfillment
    of the mission of The United Methodist Church
    to make disciples of Jesus Christ to transform the world
    and to our church’s response to the dramatic
    Hispanic/Latino population growth that our country has
    been experiencing. This Plan calls our church forward
    and beyond the church walls into the community—in
    this case, the Hispanic/Latino community. In this effort
    to reach all people and transform the world, the National
    Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry will continue to be a
    ministry of the whole church and await the harvest that
    the Lord will bring if we remain faithful to God’s leading.
    General Advance Special
    We further recommend that the National Plan for
    Hispanic/Latino Ministry be supplemented with the
    renewal and continuation of the National Challenge
    Fund for Hispanic Ministries, a General Advance
    Special. The Fund’s purpose will be to support the
    development of congregational and community ministries
    in Hispanic/Latino communities throughout the
    US. The General Board of Global Ministries, in collaboration
    with the Committee on Hispanic Ministries,
    shall revise the existing guidelines as needed. The
    General Board of Global Ministries will be responsible
    for the promotion of the Fund.
    1. Pew Hispanic Center tabulations of 2000 Census
    and 2005 American Community Survey.
    2. Roberto Suro and Jeffrey S. Passel, “The Rise of the
    Second Generation: Changing Patterns in Hispanic
    Population Growth,” Pew Hispanic Center, October 2003,
    3. US Census Bureau.
    4. This report was prepared in June 2007 for submission
    by the Advanced DCA publication deadline for the
    2008 General Conference; thus, it covers the time period
    from the last report, prepared in June 2003, through June
    5. GCFA report.
    6. “A Demographic Profile of Latino/a Seminarians,”
    the Latino Institute, University of Notre Dame, 2007, p. 12.