When we reach out to our neighbors, including our Hispanic community, we invite the Holy Spirit to do His work in our churches.
By Paul Lewis
Lakepointe is one church, two languages, many locations. It is a kingdom-minded church that loves the Hispanic community.
The first Sunday I preached at Lakepointe en Español about 10 years ago there were 47 people. This year at our Mother’s Day celebration, there were more than 3,500 people present. This is only the work of our God. He does things so big it’s evident it cannot be human doing. It has been an amazing journey to follow what God is doing in our community. And we can only be expectant for what He will do in the coming years.
Here are five strategies we have learned in the history of Lakepointe en Español as we’ve stewarded the opportunities God has given us.
1. Identify people’s needs
One of the greatest needs our people have is to belong to a community. We all have a spiritual need and a need for a community. We want to belong. When a Hispanic person walk into a Lakepointe en Español service, somebody’s there who speaks their language. There’s somebody who smiles and says, “Bienvenido a casa” (welcome home).“We all have a spiritual need and a need for a community. We want to belong.” — Paul Lewis Click To Tweet
All of a sudden, their hearts get filled. Here’s a community. The Holy Spirit starts breaking down those walls, softening their hearts before they enter a service. Then they go in and the songs are in their language. And when the Word of God is preached in their language, they can relate to that message. When they give their life to Jesus Christ, they find freedom.
2. Offer ongoing ministries
We have core ministries each weekend, including children’s ministry, youth ministry, and life groups. Midweek, we focus on marriage and recovery ministry for people going through trauma or addictions. We also have benevolence and a food pantry for all. These are the tools in our tool belt we use to reach out to the community every single week.
3. Use social media
Just like it would be for an English-speaking church, social media is part of our strategy right now. English-speaking churches may celebrate certain things on social media, but anything we celebrate on social media in the Hispanic context has a family factor, a community factor.
For example, for Mother’s Day, an English-speaking church’s social media might emphasize a good sermon, worship, and maybe a gift for moms. In the Hispanic community, Mother’s Day is a fiesta. It’s going to be a party. We’re going to have mariachis. We’re going to have food. Our culture is drawn to that.
Many of our members at Lakepointe en Español are first-generation immigrants. The majority don’t have their aunts, uncles, and grandparents here. They’re always wanting that community—to hang out, to be together. On social media, we’re going to promote not so much the sermon but the mariachis and the fiesta.
We’re telling the community, “Hey, we’re going to have this celebration. Come to this party.” That’s one of our strategies to reach the Hispanic community because they are missing that family aspect. Many are not getting together with their families, because their families are in another country.
4. Learn from those you reach
Understanding the unique needs of our people is key. Some families are starting from scratch, so we are intentional in asking, “How can the church be helping you?” We care about their physical and spiritual needs.“Understanding the unique needs of our people is key. Some families are starting from scratch, so we are intentional in asking, ‘How can the church be helping you?’” — Paul Lewis Click To Tweet
That’s why we have life groups—to connect with people, share the gospel, and walk with them. People find community in life groups. This is where change happens, where they can make their needs known and where they can grow spiritually.
When our people belong to a life group, they belong to a family. And what is a family for? It’s for caring for them from the basic things they need when they move in from another country to learning how to navigate the education and medical systems of this country.
5. Unite Hispanic cultures
Members of Lakepointe en Español represent 22 countries from all throughout South America and Spain. We are strategic in knowing their culture and country. Even though we speak the same language, there are many differences that make each culture unique. When we do this, we make our people feel special and show them we care.
We are blessed to have several countries represented on our staff as well—from Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Spain.
Knowing the cultures, celebrating them, and working to bring them together is one of our strategies with our Hispanic community. For example, we plan and expect that after the service, members are going to hang out for more than a few minutes. They find a family at church.“My prayer and hope is that churches in America can see the potential we have in front of us at this time in our country.” — Paul Lewis Click To Tweet
My prayer and hope is that churches in America can see the potential we have in front of us at this time in our country. Our communities look different than many years ago. When we reach out to our communities, to our neighbors, including our Hispanic community, we invite the Holy Spirit to do His work in our churches. There’s a supernatural blessing that comes when we have unity in our church—English and Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters in Christ working side by side, serving together and serving one another. We are showing the world what only God can do: bring unity to our communities.
For permission to republish this article, contact Marissa Postell Sullivan.