Hispanic Ministries

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INTRODUCTION

God has a mission for Hispanics in Arizona. It was precisely 108 years ago that two literature evangelists arrived in Tucson. Not speaking Spanish, they sought out a friendly Methodist minister to teach them the language. The textbook was the Bible. Soon they were discussing theology in their Spanish class and the Sabbath was the main topic of discussion. By the end of December 1899, there were two organized Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist congregations in Arizona. These congregations were not only the first in Arizona, but were the very first Hispanic congregations in all of North America.

ARIZONA GROWTH FACTS

Arizona is the second most rapidly growing state in the country. Our population grew by 50% from 1990-2004, from 3.6 million to 5.6 million. From 1990-2000 Arizona’s Hispanic population grew by 88%. In 2004 the Hispanic population in Arizona numbered 1,500,000. God’s handprint is on the Hispanic church in Arizona. Here are a few statistics that reveal God is at work through our lay people and pastors.

 

                                              2003                    2004                     2005                     2006

Organized Churches:                19                         19                         20                          21

Companies:                                6                           6                           5                            5  

Groups:                                      1                           1                           5                            5

Membership:                       3,420                    4,301                    4,739                     5,072

Tithe:                      $1,429,906.40      $1,647,231.07      $1,887,462.00       $2,077,817.35


EVANGELISM

We have a growing church in Arizona, and the DNA that strengthens and binds our Hispanic congregations is evangelism. Throughout the year every congregation holds one or more evangelistic series. Thus, there are always individuals in our churches who have been recently baptized and are excited about the Gospel! They in turn bring in their friends.

                                              2003                    2004                     2005                     2006

Baptisms:                               281                       533                       447                        486


FINANCES

The Hispanic Church in Arizona has demonstrated through its financial giving that it is a loyal and faithful segment of the overall constituency. Our membership has shown a healthy degree of financial responsibility. The following figures reveal significant tithe increases. For this we are grateful, for our pattern of giving shows maturity, responsibility and spirituality.

 

                                              2003                    2004                     2005                     2006

Tithes:                   $1,429,906.40        1,647,231.07      $1,887,462.00       $2,077,817.35

 

YOUTH

The Hispanic Church in Arizona is a young church. The demographics of our churches reveal a membership whose median age is in their 30s. Therefore, Youth Ministries is an important part of our overall ministry. Our Youth Federation is a body of young workers whose function is to provide spiritual, social and recreational activities for our youth statewide. Their goal is to schedule one event a year for both English and Spanish speaking youth here in Arizona, and train our youth to be involved in evangelism.

 
CAMP MEETING

Hispanics in Arizona eagerly await the summer months to make the yearly pilgrimage to Camp Yavapines to enjoy camp meeting. The caliber of speakers and music has been outstanding, and all attendees have been truly blessed. Our focus for the next few camp meetings will be “Discipleship” and “Evangelism.”


CONVOCATIONS

In an effort to maintain a spirit of unity and fellowship, we hold yearly convocations. During convocation weekends, all Hispanic churches throughout Arizona are closed and we gather in one central location. This spiritual weekend event serves to foster brotherhood among our churches, and provides another opportunity to enjoy outstanding speakers and music.

 
WOMEN’S MINISTRY

For 18 years now the Hispanic women of Arizona have been blessed by the annual Hispanic Women’s Retreat during which they fellowship together and grow in Christ. This yearly event is anticipated by mothers, wives and sisters alike.

 
LAY TRAINING

Due to the burgeoning growth in membership, our Hispanic pastors are holding lay training seminars in each of their churches. The response of our constituents has been very encouraging and we feel this is a vital part of our ministry in Arizona. Our goal is to hold one major lay training event and one lay retreat each year.

 
MINISTRY

Our ministers in Arizona are dedicated and loyal to our church. They are hard working and statistics testify to their diligent efforts. Currently there are 16 Hispanic ministers serving the Lord in Arizona. Our goal is to motivate, support and give our ministers resources to facilitate the preaching of the Gospel. It is our aim to make Arizona the best place to work in the entire North American Division.

 
CONCLUSION

As people relocate and change lifestyles, there are many open to receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist Church in Arizona is poised and ready to continue to preach the Gospel to all of our Hispanic constituents. We pray for a vibrant church; we pray for a mission-driven church; we pray for a church that displays God’s unconditional love for the world.

 Jose Marin

Assistant to the President for Hispanic Ministries