Southern Baptists Say There Are Too Few Churches to Minister to New Mexico’s Hispanic Mission Field

Attendees at the 2017 Festival de Esperanza in Anthony, hosted by Betesda Comunidad Cristiana, listen to the program during the event at the city’s park. The evangelistic event drew approximately 500 people; 17 chose to follow Jesus. The event was a part of the BCNM’s 2017 Simultaneous Revival Campaign among the state’s Hispanic Churches. Submitted photo

Nearly half of New Mexico’s population is Hispanic, the highest share in the United States, yet there are only 57 Hispanic Baptist churches ministering to fewer than 3,000 Hispanics on any given Sunday across the state. One Southern Baptist is set on changing that.

“New Mexico is a mission field,” says Ricardo Rivera, the state Hispanic strategist for the Baptist Convention of New Mexico. “Our biggest challenge is finding church planters to reach this people group.”

The Hispanic population of New Mexico is as diverse as it is large. In the northern part of the state most of the Hispanics are of Spanish descent, have been in the area for many generations and speak primarily English. In the southern part of the state, most of the Hispanic population is made up of immigrants from Mexico, Central and South America who speak mostly Spanish. Finally, to the east there are many Hispanics working in the dairy farms that line that part of the state.

First Baptist Church in Portales is currently the only church in New Mexico working to reach the dairy farm workers.

“The ministry to the dairy farm workers started through a deacon of FBC Portales who owns one of the farms and wanted to reach the Hispanics working there. Forty people have been saved as a result of that ministry,” noted Rivera.

Another strategy churches are using to reach Hispanics is evangelistic events which Rivera says are essentially revival style services. The Hispanic churches are encouraged to host one of these events annually. The events include block parties and door-to-door evangelism.

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Source: Baptist Press