The intention of this post isn’t for you to become an expert in Latino ministry but it’s for you to at least have some awareness. This is a quick guide, adapted from a training I give that’s usually two hours long.
Why is it so important to do ministry for Latinos?
The Latinos are the largest ethnic group in the United States and as we all know, Young Life is for every kid. In the world, there are twenty-six Spanish-speaking countries. One of the most common mistakes that occurs in the States is that people try to associate all Latinos with Mexico. Please don’t make this mistake and take the time to listen and identify with the Latino you are trying to connect with.
Latino is an ethnicity composed of many races combined: African, indigenous, Spaniard, etc. You will find Latinos of all colors and features, so don’t make the mistake of assuming that someone who doesn’t stereotypically look Latino isn’t.
Now I am going to briefly walk you through some details that can be helpful in the 5 Cs of Latino ministry.
- At SOCCER games. Soccer which we call FÚTBOL is very integrated in our culture, so it is a great way to do contact work with latino students.
- Food is essential. Have food at everything you do. Food is very important in our culture and if you are working with low income kids, this can help you connect to them.
- Hug them. Latinos are big on physicals touch, it’s a part of our love language. So do not feel uncomfortable if they hug you.
- Acknowledge the Catholic Church. Catholicism is huge in Latino culture so remember that our job isn’t to change anyone but rather reinforce their faith. Be respectful.
- Without food there’s NO PARTY. It has to be present.
- Flexibility of time is better than a strict schedule. Sometimes latino kids have other responsibilities and you have to be aware of those and work around their schedule.
- Provide transportation. The majority of latino kids won’t have a adr so you will have to provide transportation.
- “Dance party” works better than “Sing Along”. In the majority of latino clubs, this will be the dance mixer. Latinos love to dance.
- Camp is a luxury, so there’s no money for that. Understand the financial and cultural situation so you have to come with a plan to raise the money but make them a part of it.
- Helping to raise money, it’s easier than having to pay.
- Meeting with parents at their house. You will have to do this often, more with the girls.
- Speaking Spanish with parents. It is possible that you will find parents that don’t speak Spanish so try to find someone that will translate.
- Go as a couple (Spouses or male and female leaders) to meeting with parents.
- Legal status is uncomfortable when signing camp paperwork. Make them feel secure.
- Lack of items to go to camp. (Clothing, shoes, etc)
- If Spanish is their first language, we have all the camp forms in Spanish.
- Have a food schedule so they can bring something made in home, or have them prepare their own food, while getting ready for Campaigners.
- Local church’s Involvement is key!
- Recruit Latino committee members.
- Re-educate your committee. Make sure they’re ready and willing to reach the Latino Community.
Extra tips to consider:
Latinos in general, are:
- Thankful and appreciative. We say thanks instead of writing thanks.
- Talkative and festive. We make jokes a lot… don’t take it personally.