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Latest Move of God: A 'Latino Reformation' Shifts Religious Landscape

Latest Move of God: A 'Latino Reformation' Shifts Religious Landscape Read Transcript

HEATHER SELLS: On any given Sunday

at the Crossing Church in Tampa, you'll

see a mix of ages, backgrounds, and races.

In Florida, almost a quarter of the population is Hispanic,

so churches here are already benefiting

from their involvement and leadership.

Since 2013, the Latino population

has just exploded around here.

And we're seeing it.

Two of our main worship pastors are Latino.

They're amazing.

And they bring kind of the salsa flair, the fire, if you will.

Our student pastor and our campus pastor in South Shore

are both Latino.

HEATHER SELLS: As part of this new generation

of Hispanic leadership, senior pastor Greg Dumas

fits a growing trend.

He doesn't speak Spanish and barely

identifies himself as Hispanic.

I'm Latino kind of.

HEATHER SELLS: Still Dumas is well

aware of his congregation's diversity.

We almost exactly represent Tampa when you talk about

African-American, white, Latino.

HEATHER SELLS: The Crossing is right

on cue with the Latino population surge

reshaping not just the country, but our churches.

By 2050, one in three Americans will be Latino.

Combine that with phenomenal church growth across Latin

America and add Pope Francis, and you get a modern day Latino


Authors Robert Crosby and Samuel Rodriguez

make that case in their new book,

"When Faith Catches Fire."

SAMUEL RODRIGUEZ: There's the idea of the perception

white evangelicalism, and even in the African-American church,

the Latinos are this emerging immigrant group.


We emerged.

We are not emerging.

We emerged.

We're here.

And we're here in viable leadership roles.

HEATHER SELLS: Rodriguez says the rise of Latino Christians

in the US is no coincidence.

He believes they may not only bless the church here,

they can help redeem it in a culture that

openly attacks biblical views.

When you have a white evangelical advocating

for this God bless them, it's one thing.

But when you have a Latino advocating, the moment

you come against that Latino, you're

coming against an ethnicity and a minority.

It serves as a firewall against the assault.

HEATHER SELLS: Crosby warns church leaders

about the consequences if they ignore this key demographic.

To me, churches that choose not to become multi-ethnic are

losing and will lose.

The strongest presence and growth that we've experienced

has come from the Latin community.

HEATHER SELLS: River of Life Church

is also attracting Latinos from all backgrounds,

but it hasn't always been that way.

The area was predominantly white when the church first

opened its doors.

As Hispanics arrived, the church adapted.

CC HONAKER: We've tried to be intentional in representing

our community and those on the platform and then those that

are working with people.

HEATHER SELLS: Crosby and Rodriguez say churches

that welcome Latinos tend to become, quote, "salsified--"

not only passionate in their faith,

but pursuing salvation and social justice.

SAMUEL RODRIGUEZ: The vast majority

of evangelical churches in America in the next 20 years

will be both vertical and horizontal churches.

We'll be both Billy Graham and Dr. King.

Latinos are doing that.

Because we're not either or.

We're both and.

So we will be a very healthy church committed

to righteousness, but likewise committed to biblical justice

in the name of Jesus.

ROBERT CROSBY: You open your heart

to Latinos in your community, and you will bless your church,

because you'll be bringing in people that not only want

to get right with God, but they're

very concerned about their neighbors, their communities.

HEATHER SELLS: Pastors told us Latinos have

made their congregations more focused on the Holy Spirit

and emphasized that church is family.

And they're not just serving.

They're leading with a holistic vision of ministry

at a time when the church needs it.

SAMUEL RODRIGUEZ: But I think white evangelicals still

look at the Latino church as a minority church that's

looking for this, and we're not looking for a handout.

We're actually looking for this--

kingdom collaboration.

HEATHER SELLS: Collaboration that

could revitalize the church in this country.

Reporting in Tampa, Heather Sells, CBN News.


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