For Latino Protestants in the United States, the Pew Research Center has found that Pentecostalism is preferred. A recent Pew Research survey revealed Pentecostalism as the single largest denominational family among Hispanic Protestants.
According to the report, "When Latino Protestants are asked which denomination or church they identify with most closely, about three in 10 (29 percent) say they are affiliated with a Pentecostal church, such as the Assemblies of God."
Efraim Espinoza, director of U.S. AG Office of Hispanic Relations, says the findings come as no surprise.
"Just over one-third (110) of the 324 new AG churches planted in the United States last year were Hispanic church plants," Espinoza states. "And the largest church in the U.S. Assemblies of God is a Hispanic church in Chicago—New Life Covenant Ministries, pastored by Wilfredo (Choco) De Jesús, with more than 17,000 people attending each week."
Espinoza says that the U.S. Assemblies of God has 14 Hispanic districts with more than 3,300 ministers and 2,051 churches.
"Currently about 20 percent of all AG U.S. churches are Hispanic churches, and the percentage is growing," he explains.
"We're living in exciting times," says AG General Superintendent George O. Wood. "To see such incredible growth in Hispanic AG churches in the United States is such a joy to witness—and to know that such a strong percentage of Hispanic Protestants are Pentecostal is also deeply encouraging. I pray that in the coming years, the Holy Spirit draws an even greater percentage of Hispanic men and women to the Lord's service."
Researches found that among Hispanic Protestants, 19 percent identified themselves as Baptist and 11 percent were nondenominational/independent. No other group reached double figures, with the majority of groups (12) having less than 5 percent.
The report also notes that among younger Hispanics (18-29) there is a much larger percentage of adults who are "unaffiliated" (31 percent) as compared to ages 30-49 (15 percent) and 50 and older (11 percent).
"These findings are significant," Espinoza says. "It means younger Hispanics are not 'dutifully' following in the footsteps of their parents—in fact, they may be disillusioned by religion. I believe that's why so many Hispanics are looking to the Assemblies of God, where religion is replaced by relationship and repetition is replaced by the infilling and power of the Holy Spirit."
For more information on the Assemblies of God and the Office of Hispanic Relations (English or in Spanish), click here.
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