Editor’s note: This is the first of a four-part series from D.A. Horton on how American demographics are changing and how churches can adapt.
America is Getting Browner and Younger
Respected Economist Valeria Wilson said the majority of the labor force in America will be made up of people of color by 2032. This is 11 years sooner than the Census Bureau’s projection of the U.S. population becoming “majority-minority” in 2043. America is becoming browner and younger. For the church, this truth is something to be embraced, not feared or rejected. It is an opportunity for disciples from every imaginable ethnicity to grow in Christ together. Imagine that, local churches in the United States, potentially no longer segregated but actually reflecting God’s Kingdom (cf. Rev 7:9). I know that last sentence sounds romantic yet, with the inclusion of a biblical picture of the City of God, you should read it for what it is: non-fiction.
With the nations living in most neighborhoods in America, local churches in these communities perhaps have the greatest opportunity in our nearly 243 years of existence to bear a reflection of the eternal state. In order to bring about a more perfect picture of heaven than what has been seen in the last few centuries, the missional focus of churches should include the burgeoning demographic of Latino youth.
America’s Brown and Young Leading Demographic
Latino youth, respectively of the Millennial and Generation Z generations, are serving the Church notice: they are a snapshot of the future, yet they are here now. The Latino population is the largest among all ethnic minorities and nearly six-in-ten Latinos are Millennials or younger. Despite these staggering numbers, it is grievous to recognize little work has been dedicated to the Latino religious climate from a multidisciplinary perspective. The leading demographic of America’s future is virtually an understudied and underserved people group.
Currently, there is no widely known and accepted Evangelical missiological method for reaching Latino youth in the United States. Therefore, a foundation for a missiological method must be laid for future work to be developed. Over the next few months, I want to equip local churches who dwell among Latino people groups with an understanding as to why it is necessary to missionally engage these souls.
Today’s Approach and Tomorrow’s Fruit
First, the work must begin by identifying how and when Latinos became the largest ethnic minority group in the United States. In doing this, I believe the Lord will open the eyes and hearts of Evangelicals so they will begin making moves towards a paradigm shift in methodology that seeks to reach a demographic that is perhaps not currently on their radar. Second, I want to define the term “missiological method” to assist Evangelicals in learning how to do missions effectively among Latino youth. Lastly, I want to introduce a case study in Los Angeles County and give examples of how a missiological method can be applied in a Latino saturated context.
Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
 Valerie Wilson, “People of color will be a majority of the American working class in 2032: What this means for the effort to grow wages and reduce inequality”, Economic Policy Institute, June 9, 2016, http://www.epi.org/publication/the-changing-demographics-of-americas-working-class/
 Eileen Patten, “The Nation’s Latino Population Is Defined by Its Youth: Nearly half of U.S.-born Latinos are younger than 18”, http://www.pewhispanic.org/2016/04/20/the-nations-latino-population-is-defined-by-its-youth/
 Los Angeles County was selected for three reasons. First, it is located in the State of California, which leads the nation regarding Latino residents (15 million). Second, the Los Angeles and Long Beach metro area ranks #1 among population of Latino residents (6 million). Both statistics rendered by Jens Manuel Krogstad, “Key facts about how the U.S. Hispanic population is Changing”, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/09/08/key-facts-about-how-the-u-s-hispanic-population-is-changing/. Third, I live in Los Angeles County and have dedicated my PhD work and pastoral ministry to this area of study.
Want to see more from Pastor D.A.? Check out his other LifeWay Voices posts: