Did you know that there are many thriving Hispanic churches all across Kentucky?
I had the honor of preaching at one such church recently in Mayfield, Kentucky. Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispania began as a ministry of First Baptist Mayfield and later became an autonomous church under the leadership of Pastor Jaime Masso.
During the service, Pastor Jaime interpreted my message to a congregation of Hispanic families. I was inspired by the diversity of ages and stages represented in the congregation and their eagerness to know the Lord. After the service I joined Pastor Jaime and his wife, Anna, for lunch along with about twenty church members.
Hispanics are the second largest minority in Kentucky. Published demographics for Mayfield, Kentucky, alone show a 15% Hispanic population, but many believe that the actual population may be much higher. Kentucky Baptists have charted the course for reaching the Hispanic population in our state for years, and that work is stronger today than ever.
1. Hispanic congregations continue to grow: When we say Hispanic, we are referring to all people who live in our state who are of Latin American origin. This includes people from Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guatemala and other places. The Kentucky Baptist Convention includes 62 Hispanic churches in its total number of affiliated congregations. New Hispanic congregations are being added annually.
2. We need more Hispanic congregations: Dr. Job Juarez and the KBC Church Planting Group, working in cooperation with Associational Mission Strategists, continue to discover pockets across the state where we need new Hispanic churches. One discovery includes the need to reach the growing Mexican population in Louisville. Learn more about this at https://www.kbcsnapshots.org/mexicans-in-louisville.
Our church planting specialists believe we must have at least one Hispanic church for every city or town with a population of 2,000 or more. There are at least 163 cities in in Kentucky with a population of 2000 or more which means we need at least 101 more Hispanic churches to reach even more Spanish-speaking people in Kentucky with the gospel.
3. Hispanic congregations are enjoying thriving ministries: In a recent meeting with the West Kentucky Hispanic Fellowship, there were more than three hundred Hispanic worshippers who gathered at First Baptist Paducah for encouragement and fellowship. There were more than sixty teenagers at this gathering. The event was held at Paducah First Baptist and included a one-hour training with men, women and children in three separate rooms. Then, they moved to the sanctuary where we had a worship band and the group worshiped together for 2 hours. The training featured a couple from Mexico City that discussed how to live after COVID and how to reach people in the new life that we are now living.
4. Kentucky Baptists can pray for and participate in Hispanic ministry: Hispanics in Kentucky are no longer single men working in the Commonwealth, but instead, entire families. Workers have moved from jobs on farms to work in construction, landscaping and restaurants.
Kentucky Baptists have worked together for decades to reach the state’s Hispanic residents with the gospel. That work continues today. To help, we can each do the following.
- Pray for churches to catch the vision for new Hispanic churches across the state.
- Pray for God to raise Kentuckians who are willing and able to minister bilingually and bi-culturally.
- Pray for God to raise a new generation of Spanish-speaking church planters and pastors.
- Pray for God to stir the hearts of students at the Hispanic Bible Institute to catch the vision for more churches.
- Pray for God to raise awareness among Kentucky Baptists that while much work has been done, there is still much to do.