KANSAS CITY – The members of two families in north Kansas City have already come to faith in Christ because of a new partnership between two Missouri Baptist churches eager to reach the Hispanic community here.
Primera Iglesia Bautista (First Baptist Church), Independence, partnered with Northland Baptist Church to begin another Hispanic congregation called Northland en Español.
According to MBC church planter Luis Sanchez, the need for multiplying Baptist churches among Hispanics in the region couldn’t be greater. After all, there are only 11 Hispanic Baptist churches for a population of roughly 200,000 Spanish-speaking people in the Kansas City Metro area. Missouri Baptists have made only “a dent across the Metro,” said Sanchez, who also serves as pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista, Independence.
Moreover, the depth of lostness is only increasing over time, he added. Baptists working among previous generations in the Hispanic community have been able to count on some theological common ground, Sanchez said: for example, common beliefs about God or about Jesus as the incarnate Son of God. But now, as young Hispanics are being secularized, this common ground is withering.
But Sanchez and the eight other church plant team members from Northland Baptist and Primera Iglesia haven’t lost their passion to push back this lostness. They’ve already begun their efforts to reach the community by offering courses in English as a Second Language (ESL). In their next two phases of ministry, they hope to provide Hispanic immigrants with resources and legal counsel to maneuver the nation’s immigration process. Second, they also hope to partner with nearby school districts by creating a team of volunteer translators who can help Spanish-speaking parents communicate with their children’s English-speaking school teachers and administrators.
These efforts, Sanchez said, exist “to let the community know that we are here to help” – not just the Hispanic community, but the community as a whole. “And, of course, all of this is the door for us to share the gospel.”
Take the ESL classes that they’re offering. For several minutes at the end of each class, they have a short devotion. “We’re able to share the good news of Jesus Christ,” Sanchez said, “(telling them) that regardless what problems they are facing, the gospel is always the answer.” As a result of this devotion, members of two families (mentioned above) came to know the Lord, and two other families renewed their faith.
Sanchez told The Pathway that the partnership between Primera Iglesia Bautista, Independence, and Northland Baptist, Kansas City, has resulted in “progress for the Kingdom.”
Likewise, he highlighted the significance of Missouri Southern Baptist cooperation for the efforts to multiply churches among Hispanics in Kansas City, and beyond.
“The Cooperative Program has been tremendously important, because part of our funding comes through it,” Sanchez said. God blesses and multiplies the efforts and resources of churches, he added, as they partner with one another.
“That’s what we have seen,” he said. “Across the United States, we have seen the Lord not only revive old churches, but we’ve also seen new churches started, not only in the Hispanic world, but in general – because of the Cooperative Program.”