Multigenerational and Multilingual Hispanic Youth Ministry: Trends, Challenges and Creative Models

Team Members/Contributors

Daniel A. Rodriguez Pepperdine University Contact Me

About this sabbatical grant for researchers

Findings from my previous research reveal that conventional Spanish-speaking ministry models are unintentionally designed to preserve the language and cultural preferences of foreign-born Latinos often at the expense of U.S.-born English-dominant Latinos. Although they represent 63 percent of all Latinos in the United States, U.S.-Latinos, especially those who are English dominant, have been largely ignored by church leaders who uncritically equate “Hispanic ministry” with “Spanish-language ministry.” During my upcoming sabbatical (August 2013-July 2014), I will critically examine models of youth and young-adult ministry in U.S. metropolitan areas with the largest Hispanic populations (e.g., Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.). Utilizing online surveys, participant observations and informal interviews at target churches, I will gather ethnographic data indispensable for addressing the following research questions: What trends and special challenges do Protestant and evangelical churches face that seek to reach and serve a diverse and growing population of Hispanic youth and young adults? What models of holistic ministry, corporate worship and spiritual formation are most effective with young native-born and foreign-born Latinos? What kind of theological training do youth workers need in the early 21st Century, especially when targeting Hispanic youth and young adults? Findings and implications from this study will equip the North American church to better serve the growing Hispanic population while simultaneously advancing American religious and theological scholarship.