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More than 100 Hispanic pastors representing more than 32,000 protestant Hispanic churches across the United States visited Liberty University on Friday, March 25 for the National Hispanic Pastor’s Summit. The event was sponsored by the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC).
The NHCLC, a sister organization of the National Association of Evangelicals, is America’s largest Latino Christian organization. It aims to equip pastors to engage their communities in the fight to decrease Latino drop-out rates by encouraging Hispanic teenagers to finish high school and pursue college education, and also to encourage parents to set an example for continuing education.
The summit highlighted topics such as pastors’ roles in promoting education, the necessity of Christian education and online versus traditional instruction.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, NHCLC president, and Dr. Gilberto Velez, NHCLC chairman of the board, were keynote speakers, along with other NHCLC partners who led different workshops throughout the event.
Rodriguez’s first visit to Liberty was in 2008, when Liberty forged the partnership with the NHCLC. At that time, after tracking demographic trends, Liberty and the NHCLC both saw a greater demand for higher education among Hispanic evangelicals who, according to the NHCLC, represent the fastest growing demographic of the Christian church in America and the Western hemisphere.
In a recent NHCLC news release, Rodriguez said Liberty is a leader in providing higher education opportunities for the Hispanic community, including continuing education programs offered in a bilingual format through Liberty University En Español.
“They are reaching out and making a viable difference and offering the Hispanic community the chance for success. We are excited to partner with them,” he said. “ … We hope pastors from all over the country will join us as we discuss this urgent issue and offer a platform that will better equip [them] in [their] communities.”
Liberty is the nation’s first accredited Christian university to offer complete online bilingual programs.
Summit participants attended Friday convocation, where Velez spoke briefly about the need for a spirit-filled life.
“The most powerful spirit alive today … is the Holy Spirit of a mighty God. Wherever the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,” he said. “This is a generation with a spirit of prayer. Today we have young people who find themselves bound by sin, immorality, alcoholism … the most powerful human on the planet is a young person set free by the blood of the lamb, a young person rises up in the freedom that is Jesus Christ.”