Around 7 in 10 (69%) say their church has the financial resources it needs to support their ministry, which include some aspects that are common among most other Protestant congregations. Most Hispanic Protestant churches say they regularly offer weekly adult small groups or Bible studies (74%), weekly prayer meetings (66%) and weekly children’s small groups (52%). Fewer have weekly youth small groups (45%), weekly young adult small groups (40%), one-on-one discipleship or mentoring (34%), evening large group Bible study (25%) or evening praise and worship (24%). Just 3% say they offer none of these.
When asked about moving weekend worship service participants to small groups, 42% of pastors say at least half of their adult churchgoers are involved in group Bible studies, including 15% who say at least 75% are connected to a small group. Around a third (34%) say fewer than 1 in 4 churchgoers also are members of small group Bible studies, including 9% of pastors who say none of those attending worship services are involved in groups.
As to what hinders their congregation from participating more regularly in church activities, most pastors point to long work hours for their churchgoers (61%). Others say extended family gatherings (35%) and personal hardships or crises (30%). Around a quarter point to recreational or entertainment pursuits (26%) and lingering fear of COVID (24%). Fewer say sports activities (20%), a preference to watch online (18%), lack of transportation (17%), school events (13%) or caregiver responsibilities (11%).
“Many of the activities within Hispanic Protestant churches look similar to those in non-Hispanic churches in the U.S. with worship services, prayer meetings, Bible studies, and Sunday School classes being common,” said McConnell. “But pastors of Hispanic congregations are quick to point out immigrant families often have less time for church as many are working long hours, have family traditions and are impacted by American cultural distractions.”
Almost 4 in 5 pastors at U.S. Hispanic Protestant churches (79%) say they regularly schedule opportunities for members to go out and share the gospel.
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Specifically, most pastors say their outreach activities in the past year included church members inviting people to church (86%), using social media to share church activities (74%), children’s special events like VBS, Easter egg hunts or Fall festivals (59%), community programs like food distribution, toy giveaways, or providing clothing (58%), and church members sharing the gospel in conversations (56%). Additionally, some congregations did door-to-door evangelism (30%), evangelism training (24%) and provided financial support for a new church start (12%). Hardly any churches (1%) say they have not been able to do any of those recently.
Their outreach seems to be effective, as close to half (47%) say 10 or more people have indicated a new commitment to Christ in the past year, including 24% who have seen 20 or more such commitments. Fewer than 1 in 10 (9%) report no new commitments.
As they’ve reached these new individuals, pastors say most are sticking around. Almost 3 in 4 (73%) of those new commitments have become active participants in the life of the church, according to pastors. As a result, 88% of Hispanic Protestant pastors say they consistently hear reports of changed lives at their churches.
“Hispanic congregations are very active in engaging new people,” said McConnell. “Not only is there much evangelistic activity in Hispanic churches, but God is also blessing them with new people who commit to following Jesus Christ.”