SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Latino evangelical Christians are creating waves of local, national and global change. As their influence grows, there will be a Latin flavor within government and business, entertainment, politics and the church. America — and the world — will experience what Rodriguez and Crosby call the “salsafication” of culture, and it will (and is) emanating first from within America’s Hispanic churches.
“Our influence is growing, not declining. We’re too big to be ignored and too loud to be missed,” said Rev. Rodriguez, who this year became the first Hispanic evangelical to ever pray at a presidential inauguration in the United States. “Politics, Culture, Business, Entertainment — you name it — they’ll either bring our community to the table or we’ll be running the table for them. Either way, we’re here to stay.”
“Having pastored multiethnic church communities in New York, Boston and Tampa, I believe there are ideas and constructs held by the wider Christian community about the Latino church that are potentially harmful and often misinformed,” said Dr. Robert Crosby. “Now is the time for all Christians to embrace, celebrate and learn from what is happening in this surging faith community and to allow this powerful fire to spread. This book presents compelling evidence that what’s happening within the Latino church experience has the potential to define, accelerate and energize the global Christian community throughout the 21st century.”
According to Rodriguez and Crosby, the tipping point is here.
Consider these facts:
- Latino Evangelicals are the fastest-growing religious group in the United States.
- Latinos are turning not just to Protestantism but to its activist evangelical strain — more than 35 percent of Hispanics in America call themselves born-again.
- The massive Christian population in Latin America is becoming more Pentecostal or Charismatic.
This spiritual change is coinciding with a demographic shift that elevates the importance and impact of Hispanic views on critical issues such as immigration, race relations, the sanctity of human life, religious freedom and justice.
“As the fastest growing minority group in the United States, much has been said and written about the the socioeconomic and political impact of Hispanics,” said Rev. Rodriguez. “What’s missing in this analysis, is what’s happening within the Latino church. It’s a movement marked by passionate worship, and it’s catching fire around the world. This book explores the critical lessons we can all glean from this phenomenon and it’s also a celebration of the power of Christ, the move of the Holy Spirit and the beautiful diversity of the Kingdom of God.”
In When Faith Catches Fire, Rodriguez and Crosby unpack the reasons for the growing Latino influence on the church and culture, noting the phenomenon is more of a spiritual awakening than a social trend. This awakening is leading to what the authors see as a more passionate, spirit-filled faith sweeping throughout North and South America. Along with it comes changes in forms of worship, an emphasis on diversity and a growing concern to incorporate compassion into evangelism.
“We embrace the message of Billy Graham and the march of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” says Rev. Rodriguez. “These insights have the power to bring multiethnic and multigenerational renewal and restoration to Christians everywhere. My prayer is that this book would serve as a prophetic clarion call that both urges and empowers the church to step into its fullness in Christ, and helps our culture understand how our faith influences everything that we do and everything we believe as Latino Christians.”
Readers can order the book through all major national book retailers or through the book’s website: whenfaithcatchesfirebook.com
FOR MEDIA USE: Additional background material and author bios are available here.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. He has been named by CNN and Fox News as “the leader of the Hispanic Evangelical movement” and TIME magazine nominated him among the 100 most influential leaders in America.
Dr. Robert Crosby is a pastor, conference speaker and the co-founder of Teaming Life. He serves as professor of practical theology at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. He has pastored multiethnic churches in New York, Boston and Tampa. His most recent books include The One Jesus Loves, The Will of a Man & The Way of a Woman andThe Teaming Church. He writes for Christianity Today, Outreach Magazine and The Huffington Post. Learn more about Dr. Crosby and his work at www.teaminglife.com.
PRAISE FOR WHEN FAITH CATCHES FIRE:
“This carefully researched, balanced, and highly readable book provides a superb overview of one of the most important developments in the religion and culture of our time…The volume will be indispensable for leaders and laity alike in all denominations.”
—Dr. Harvey Cox, Hollis professor of divinity emeritus, Harvard University.
“The passionate fire from the heart of this book will serve as a rallying cry to all Latinos and beyond. Now is the time we must unify in the gospel of Jesus Christ and reach this world for Christ.”
—Dr. Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church and past president of the Southern Baptist Convention
“In When Faith Catches Fire, Samuel and Robert bring us up close to this incredible growing movement of Latino Christians. Read it, and you will find your own faith enriched and reignited.”
—Roma Downey, producer, actress, and president and chief content officer of Lightworkers
“When Faith Catches Fire is the prophetic and unapologetic response to the passionate wave of change that is on the cusp of exploding from the church to the corridors of Washington. Rodriguez and Crosby have unearthed the undeniable sound of the forthcoming Latino era. It’s the dawn of a new day, and Latinos are leading the way.
—Sergio De La Mora, founding lead pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Diego and author of The Heart Revolution
“For many, the Latino Reformation is unknown, unrecognized, and unimportant—three good reasons why every white and black Christian needs to read When Faith Catches Fire.”
—Dr. Scot McKnight, Julius R. Mantey professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary