NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Hispanics are becoming a more influential market, with the 2000 U.S. Census reporting that the American Hispanic population rose 58 percent during the 1990s to 35.3 million.
As their numbers have grown, so have the number of Hispanic churches. Based on figures from 2000 (the last available), the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board estimates there are almost 2,800 Hispanic churches and church-type missions across the country.
“This is not an insignificant number of churches,” said Jess Fairbanks, pastoral ministries specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. “These churches and missions are thriving and growing. They are reaching people for Christ.”
LifeWay has responded to the need for Spanish-language curriculum and discipleship resources, offering more than 50 product lines. These include age-graded Sunday School curricula, Beth Moore studies, “Experiencing God” resources, Vacation Bible School literature and a variety of music — all available in the United States at www.lifeway.com or by calling LifeWay at 1-800-458-2772.
The number of Internet-savvy Hispanics is growing as well, with nearly 53 percent of Hispanics browsing the Web for more than three years. Another 22 percent have been online for two to three years, and the number keeps growing.
Thus LifeWay has developed a Spanish-language website — www.lifeway.com/spanish — which features:
— Pagina en Espanol, the main homepage – encompassing regular articles and columns for pastors and other key leaders.
— Escuela Dominical — resources for Sunday School ministry.
— Evangelismo — evangelism (Por Fe) resources.
— Educacion Cristiana — resources for Christian education.
— Noticias de LifeWay — news from LifeWay, primarily articles from Facts and Trends, LifeWay’s corporate newsmagazine.
“It’s a critical ministry area for LifeWay,” said David Hargrove, an Internet producer at LifeWay. “We’re enthusiastic about helping create a ministry area that breaks new ground and has the potential to meet a need that no one else is meeting right now.”