Spanish-speaking Americans represent the fastest-growing minority in the U.S. An estimated 20 million strong—hiked by a high birthrate (twice that of whites and 60 percent higher than blacks) and the continuing flow of legal and illegal immigrants (some estimate 2 million illegals cross the U.S. border from Mexico every year)—Hispanics may soon pass blacks as the largest minority in the American melting pot. The problem is they are not melting: language and cultural barriers, and the illegal status of so many, make them a neglected minority. Certainly, they are the least evangelized of any major ethnic group. Most are unchurched or on the outer fringes of the Roman Catholic church. Evangelicals are just now beginning to wake up to Hispanic ministry. Luis Palau’s first major Spanish-language crusade in the U.S., held last month in Los Angeles, provides the occasion for news articles and staff member John Maust’s general overview of budding evangelical ministries among Hispanics.
Elsewhere in this issue, Presbyterian pastor Robert Henderson pricks our conscience on another area of neglected ministry: the nation’s poor. Nancy Barcus describes how proper planning for church building can save money and energy, and managing editor James Reapsome tells how one energy-minded church cut its heating bill by 40 percent. Finally, Peter Gillquist meets head-on a superficial triumphalism characteristic of some evangelical piety. We trust such articles will rouse us all from the lethargy of summer doldrums.
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