Yet the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is not prepared for this new reality! Consider these facts:
- Only 2% of PCA churches include Hispanics within their congregations or have Hispanics on staff.
- Less than 1% of all Teaching Elders within the PCA are Hispanic
- Only 1% of students currently studying in PCA seminaries are Hispanic
Hispanic Leadership Initiative (HLI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit ministry, is dedicated to helping the churches of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) reach the fifty-three million Hispanics who currently live in the United States with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
By God’s grace and provision, through personal relationships and in active partnership with Mission to North America, local PCA churches, educational institutions, and individuals, HLI will develop a pipeline of Hispanic leadership for the PCA by:
bicultural Hispanic men and women with high leadership potential,
these men and women to consider God’s call upon their life and how to best develop their gifts for His service,
these men and women in developing their gifts through theological education, ministry apprenticeships, training retreats, and personal relationships, and
these trained and qualified men and women into leadership within PCA churches and ministries.
If we believe that trained Hispanic leaders within our churches is key to the PCA’s ability to reach Hispanics with the gospel, then we must take immediate action! We must search diligently and identify as many Hispanic men and women as we can to be trained, and then work together to get them trained and placed in PCA churches!
HLIConnect is a new initiative to cast a nationwide net to identify potential Hispanic leaders, connect them with educational options that would fit them best, and connect them with local PCA churches and presbyteries that can offer internship or staff positions for these future leaders.
As part of this initiative, we have developed an online repository, accessed through the HLI website, that includes information from three different sources: Candidates; Educational Opportunities; and Positions Available.
It’s all about numbers. We must identify more Hispanic men and women more quickly and on a larger scale so that we have a larger pool of candidates. We must help these men and women receive the training they need to become effective in ministry. And we must have places for them to serve once they have been trained.
The focus of HLIConnect is sharing. This repository allows candidates, educational institutions, and local churches to share information and connect with each other. It also allows local churches and presbyteries to follow candidates through the preparation process, providing opportunities for increased partnership.
Imagine a seminary reading the profile of a candidate in HLIConnect, then contacting that candidate, assessing his or her needs, and then helping him or her to get started in the training he or she needs. At the same time, a local PCA church desires to reach the Hispanic community around their church and begins looking for an Hispanic man or woman to help them with that. They come to HLIConnect to see who might be available and connect with several candidates to try to fill that position.
Identifying Potential Candidates
We are looking for Hispanic men and women who are sensing God’s call to future ministry and who possess and exhibit the following characteristics:
- A love for Jesus Christ, demonstrated in a growing and ongoing obedience to His commands and a love for His body, the church;
- Bi-cultural awareness, demonstrated in the ability to build relationships across cultural, economical, and ethnic divides;
- Gifts for ministry, as demonstrated in a desire to pursue ministry and a history of fruitful impact for the Kingdom;
- An expressed intention to pursue ministry in the Presbyterian Church in America among Hispanics in the United States;
- A commitment to the values of HLI, as expressed in HLI’s Vision, Mission, and Values statements;
- A good witness to the world, as shown by living in obedience to the civil magistrate.
We need the help of PCA seminaries and other educational institutions in providing us with educational tracks and degrees for our candidates, along with scholarships available to them. We also need regular reports from them to track a candidate’s progress while in training.
We need the help of local PCA churches and other ministries in posting internship and staff positions that the church or ministry has to offer.
As we build this information exchange together, we will see more Hispanic men and women available for leadership positions within PCA churches and ministries.
This will translate into more leaders who are equipped to take the gospel to Hispanics within the community around their churches.
And by God’s grace and blessing, this will translate into the expansion of His Kingdom throughout the United States and the rest of the world, to His glory!