Spanish-Language Churches Recognizing Need for English


Latino churches in the United States are adapting to the new reality that Spanish-language services may not be good for their growth. They are adopting to the fact that second-generation Hispanics are speaking more English.
As the nation’s Latino population has grown to 50 million, so too has the Spanish-language church, one of the largest segments of U.S. Christianity. But compared to previous decades, when the growth in the Hispanic population came from immigration, and when many of the nation’s biggest Spanish-speaking congregations blossomed, the growth of Hispanics in the last decade has been led by second-generation and third-generation Hispanics. The latest national census showed that native-born Hispanics, who tend to prefer English, now account for nearly two-thirds of the group, according to a Huffington Post article.
The article states, “While it’s become common wisdom that English-speaking churches will shrink as younger generations, who are typically less religious, become the majority, the Spanish church — known across denominations for its religious fervor — is battling to keep its youth in the faith. It’s having to budge on one of its biggest points of pride and identity, its language, to hold on to them.”
Ministers, struggling with the changing demographics of their congregations, have attempted a variety of means to attack the language divide. Older, monolingual pastors who separately ministered to different congregations are gone. New, younger bilingual ones have come in. The church has instituted a quarterly bilingual worship service, where hymns and prayers are alternatively said in English and Spanish. Elders have considered having services in English for everyone, where live Spanish translation is done via headset,