‘Familia’ connects Arizona Hispanic churches

By Lori Pruit | May 23, 2024

Pastors of Arizona Southern Baptist Hispanic churches pray together.

The framework that helps a family to be strong is also what will help a church to be bonded and connected. A sense of priority and loyalty, along with respecting family ties, are important.

Arizona Southern Baptist Hispanic churches are enjoying that bond as they train together and prepare their congregations to reflect the glory of God. These culturally minded churches possess a strong grasp of family … “familia.” And family is a key ingredient.

“Hispanic culture has been characterized by fostering family ties and unity, which is why I believe that family issues are attractive and of interest to Hispanic churches,” said Josue Castro, Hispanic ministries facilitator for the Arizona Mission Network of Southern Baptists.

Southern Baptist Hispanic churches across Arizona work together to strengthen the cords of connectivity. Each year, conferences on various topics are conducted in a manner that promotes the building of bridges between Hispanic church leaders, their congregations and fellow AZMN churches. These conferences encourage unity through reinforced teamwork, while training in Christian education, discipleship, evangelism, Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.

Hispanic churches work together for VBS training.

Issac Aviles, pastor of Ministerio Familia de Dios in Glendale, recounted his experience attending these conferences and other events.

“We learn and share how we can impact our communities together,” he said. “Pastors gather monthly to discuss activities and types of outreaches that we can do to make a difference in the kingdom of God.”

Two major camps are also held during the year, one for men and one for women.

In the 2023 Hispanic Ministries report, Castro spoke of the state event, UNITY, and the goal of reaching youth in challenging situations. Workshops included addressing family issues, such as children of divorced parents and youth experiencing difficult and painful situations. Once again, these efforts lead Hispanic churches in utilizing a culture enriched in helping familia.

When asked about the ability of Hispanic churches to connect and serve each other, Castro said, “I think we can attribute it to a healthy coexistence between pastors … understanding that together we can do more in the work that God has entrusted to us.”

Pastors of Arizona Southern Baptist Hispanic churches connect with God and with one another as they pray together.

A goal has been set to teach Hispanic congregations to lean on each other as they serve the church family.

“If one person has a positive experience while visiting the church, they will invite all of their family members to attend with them,” said Luis Aguilar, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Del Sur Amistad in Douglas.

AZMN Hispanic churches are working to see themselves connect as one body … knowing that God is pleased with that type of unity.

Castro said it best, “The strategy is to promote activities where pastors can live together, where churches can live together, and where we can include familia … family.”

Next Steps 

  • Look for ways for your church to connect with fellow Arizona Southern Baptist congregations. Experience what it is like to be part of the family.
  • Pray for Hispanic leaders as they work together. Pray for unity, likeminded goals and sensitivity to God’s voice.
  • To learn about upcoming opportunities in training and connectivity with fellow Hispanic congregations, email Josue Castro, AZMN Hispanic Ministries facilitator, at josue@azmn.org.

Lori Pruit, a freelance writer living in Casa Grande, is a member of Pinal County Cowboy Church, Casa Grande.

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