In the United States, Hispanics are the second-largest ethnic population. By 2060, it is expected that Hispanics will constitute more than 27 percent of the American population. As a mass media Gospel outreach organization, LHM is committed to reaching this rapidly growing audience with the Good News of the Gospel.
About half of those who identify as Hispanic in the United States today speak Spanish primarily. LHM can reach more than 30 million people with our dedicated Spanish language content. What's more, Hispanics are deeply relational people, using a variety of means to grow and extend their communities and stay connected. For LHM, that means that digital pathways for nurturing faith and sharing the Gospel with Hispanics abound.
Like communicating with any culture, some opportunities and challenges come with it. Today's Hispanics are digital-first so that they can be reached across all social media platforms and channels. They are hungry for resources that bring them hope and courage in today's challenging times, and they long for good family relationships, but they don't always know how to foster or encourage them. While some older Latinos may not know how to access our digital content, some Hispanics are hesitant to ask for help, so resources quickly accessible from home are very attractive to them. Religion-or the practice of-is a private matter for many, so meaningful interactions that may spark conversations about Jesus usually takes time.
These opportunities have led LHM to pour significant energy into growing our engagement with Hispanics in the last few years. And we're not stopping.
"We're partnering with the growing number of ministry leaders, churches, districts, universities, and seminaries serving and training Hispanics for ministry," says Rev. Dr. Chad Lakies, LHM's regional director for North America. "The future is bright for connecting with Hispanics in North America. Join us in these efforts with your prayers that God reaches down through LHM to bring the Gospel to those who have yet to hear, that they might meet Jesus and find a home in His Church."
Responding to the growing need for Spanish resources in the United States, LHM continues developing and growing our Hispanic ministry efforts. Noemí Guerra, program developer for Hispanic ministry at LHM, says, "It's important for LHM to continue to develop additional ways to reach out to Hispanics with the Gospel and equip others to do so. Hispanics are our friends, coworkers, neighbors, and family members. So, we're doing more than just translating materials written for English-speaking audiences. We're crafting programming and media content for Hispanics by Hispanics."
LHM's Spanish Resources at a Glance
Para el Camino (paraelcamino.com)
A Hub for All LHM Spanish Resources
On Para el Camino's website, users will find practical, Christ-centered resources to help them successfully manage their daily lives in the United States. Bible-based teaching, sermons, videos, devotionals, and more benefit Christian and non-Christians alike, encouraging them to grow in their knowledge of God and to follow in His footsteps.
Steady demand for sermons from Para el Camino (For the Journey)-Lutheran Hour Ministries' Spanish-language broadcast-has led LHM to restart production and offer them in a podcast format.
Between 2008 and 2014, the Para el Camino weekly sermons were translations from The Lutheran Hour. Since then, those sermons have been available through website archives. However, with increasing numbers listening to the Good News online, the demand is there for the accelerated production of new messages.
"Due to the consistently significant number of people who access these sermons monthly, we decided to restart production and offer it in a podcast format," said Beatriz Hoppe, Hispanic coordinator for LHM's North America region. Since restarting this program in September 2019, we have been able to transition from translations to original Spanish sermons and have added the downloadable Sermon Notes where listeners can read additional information about the sermon text and find questions for personal or small group reflection.
The Para el Camino website also offers Daily and Seasonal Devotions, Bible studies, topical Project Connect booklets, children's booklets, a radio drama (Ayer, Hoy y Siempre), a chat option that links to social media pages, and links to the Sentido Latino and Vivenciar websites.
Impact of Para el Camino
Doris is a faithful reader of our Daily Devotions. She called our dedicated 1-800 Spanish line asking for advice since her marriage was falling into pieces. She wanted to do the right thing, but she didn't know how or where to start, and she didn't feel comfortable talking with her pastor. After a 40-minute conversation and prayer, she had a clearer vision of her situation and a plan to start moving forward.
A listener to the sermons shared, "Thank you for this morning's message. It was very encouraging. It is excellent to see how LHM has invested again in Spanish-speaking ministries."
A pastor shared, "This is an exemplary message of the Good News of Jesus Christ for us in this Holy Week. Listen to it, and you will be richly blessed and strengthened in your faith in Christ!"
Sentido Latino (sentidolatino.com)
Launched in 2017, Sentido Latino aired its 15-20-minute podcast bi-weekly and transitioned to weekly episodes in 2019. The shift to a weekly format gave the program's growing listener base greater frequency to tap into its diverse topic list. These focus on issues both immediate and relevant to Hispanics integrating into the cultural fabric of the United States.
Drawing from a rich and time-honored Christian-Hispanic perspective, program hosts tackle issues with insight and humor, engaging listeners with a lively exchange of good advice and godly wisdom for their journey.
The podcast's vision and mission are born out in its title. "Sentido Latino" means Latin sense, and its tagline, "Donde tu vida tiene Sentido," means where your life makes sense. The program objective is to raise and discuss issues and values that directly impact U.S. Hispanics' family, spiritual, and community life. According to Producer Beatriz Hoppe, "Through Sentido Latino, we want to accompany you in this adventure called 'life.' And if during our walk together you get to meet the Author and Giver of life, we will have achieved our goal."
In addition to the weekly episodes, Sentido Latino offers a weekly one-minute reflection, downloadable resources, and a chat option.
Impact of Sentido Latino
Angie messaged us saying that she listened to our podcast on Feb. 14 and found it healing. She asked for Bible verses of encouragement because she was going through difficult times. She was reassured of God's continued presence in her life.
Berta, a woman from New York, had been listening to our Sentido Latino podcast on healthy boundaries and wanted advice on her relationship. She said she was going through a challenging moment because she found out that her husband was unfaithful to her. She felt like her life had collapsed and she was at the end of her rope. After talking for a few minutes, we asked if she would like us to pray for her. She said: "Yes, I ask that God would unite my family again... my home is divided. My 14-year marriage is falling to the ground. I don't know how to accept this reality". LHM staff assured her that they would be praying for her and offered to have a local pastor contact her, which she graciously accepted.
A Digital Platform Offering Spiritual Guidance to Life's Issues
Pioneered and developed by LHM ministry center staff in the Latin America region, Vivenciar.net is a bi-lingual platform that reaches Spanish and Portuguese-speaking individuals. Since it began in 2017, the purpose of Vivenciar.net has been to start conversations with non-Christians who are looking for help and guidance about relevant topical issues on the internet. Young adults are gravitating to the internet seeking help, including millions who are curious--or have doubts--about Christianity.
The Vivenciar.net website serves as a hub for digital outreach throughout Latin America and now North America. Through Vivenciar.net, staff and volunteers enter into digital conversations with individuals and provide biblically-based answers for their lives. Since its expansion into the U.S. in 2021, Vivenciar.net has offered help, support, and direction to Spanish-speaking individuals. The live chat, blogs, courses, and e-books give additional support to those seeking answers to their questions.
Impact of Vivenciar.net
Rosa, suffering from terminal cancer, wanted to talk to someone because she was scared and could not find peace. She accepted the invitation to be referred to a pastor, who called her right away. Rosa told him she had heard about Jesus, but she wasn't sure about her salvation or what happens after we die. The pastor patiently and lovingly talked with her about the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus and what that means for each of us, including her. He also talked about repentance and the forgiveness of sins Jesus provides. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, at the end of the call and after praying, Rosa confessed Jesus as her Lord and Savior. She was assured of her salvation and at peace with herself and with God.
Bianca messaged us sharing that she had depression and anxiety symptoms. We chatted for a while, and she asked for resources. She was sent two articles from Vivenciar and two podcasts of ours on those topics.
CPTLN Mobile App Coming Soon
Later this year, we'll release our first smartphone app entirely in Spanish with access to all the resources from Para el Camino, Sentido Latino, and Vivenciar. With this app, we aim to offer a convenient way to connect Hispanics to Jesus and to equip them to share the Good News of the Gospel with others.
The CPTLN (Christ for All Nations) app will be a mobile hub for Para el Camino sermons, sermon notes, Daily Devotions, Project Connect booklets, Bible studies, reflections, Vivenciar, a Bible app, and a chat function. Hispanics use their phones all the time. When they are working outside the home or otherwise away from a computer, they nevertheless always have access to their phones and can conveniently use our resources on the go.
Having the resources on a mobile app gives them access to everything they need without sitting down at a computer. They can conveniently use our resources on the go.
"The coolest thing to me is that all the resources can be shared through the other apps on your phone," says Beatriz Hoppe. "For example, we use WhatsApp all the time, and with this new app, you can take anything and send it through WhatsApp. It's so easy to share our resources."
Look for more information in upcoming issues of The Lutheran Layman.
Key Demographics of the Hispanic Population in the United States
- At 62.1 million, Hispanics comprise 18.8 percent of the total U.S population. This means that: Nearly 1 in 5 people in the U.S. is Hispanic.
- 1 in 4 elementary-school students is Hispanic.
- The U.S. is the 2nd largest Spanish-speaking country in the world after Mexico.
- If U.S. Hispanics were their own country, they would rank as the 8th largest economy in the world.
- Harmonious family relationships are the top priority. The family is the survival net for its members, who have a strong sense of duty to and across generations.
- Respect. All family members are expected to be respected and respect each other. The elders are highly valued and play a significant role in the family dynamics by contributing their knowledge and experience and serving as repositories of history, tradition, and values.
- Faith and church are often central to family and community life: the baptism of infants and the anointing of the sick are required in life-threatening situations.
- Women's most important roles are as wives and mothers.
- Women are expected to be the primary force holding the family and home together through work and cultural wisdom as well as serving as primary caregivers who are most responsible for parenting.
- Women are expected to show respect and even submission to their husbands, although privately, most of them hold a greater degree of power than men.
- Women are idealized in some respects and oppressed in others (Marianismo).
- The husband is the protector, provider, and decision-maker for the family. Traditional male roles are defined as machismo, which is the expectation that a man will be honorable, responsible, and loving towards his family in the Latino world.
- Spiritual and religious influences play a significant role in health, illness, and daily life.