4 out of 5 Hispanic Churches are Protestant
Traditionally, the faith most associated with Hispanics is Catholic. This was true in 1970 when 90% of the Hispanics in the United States identified themselves as Catholic. However, a Barna Research survey of the religious faith of Hispanics in 2001 revealed that only 53% said they were Catholic. More surprising, a review of the American Church List in July 2003 revealed that there were 2,337 Protestant churches and only 399 Catholic churches that identify themselves as Hispanic in the top ten Latino populated markets in the U.S.
The popularity of Protestant beliefs among the Hispanics has created some very large churches in heavily populated Hispanic areas. Pastor Victor Higueros in Dallas, Texas recently moved into a new church facility with seating for 3,000. His church is the largest Hispanic church in Dallas. There are many other Protestant Hispanic churches that have large congregations in cities such as Los Angeles, Miami and Houston.
The music industry gave the highest award to a Protestant minister. The Latino Grammy Award’s recent winner was the well known Protestant pastor, Marcos Witt. His Hispanic congregation in Houston, Texas has several thousand members.
The Protestant influence reaches professional athletes as well. Major league baseball player Edgardo Alfonzo is also a Protestant and is involved with a Christian organization called “God in the Big Leagues”. This Protestant ministry is under the direction of Reverend Ricardo Reyes. Reverend Reyes is working with 33 professional baseball teams and has 310 major league baseball players that are members of “God in the Big Leagues”
Cable Operators should make sure to not overlook the Hispanic Protestant faith community. One network is targeting the Protestant Hispanics in America. TBN Enlace USA, a digital Hispanic faith channel from TBN, features Hispanic faith programs from numerous Latin American countries, as well as Spanish language programs from the U.S. TBN Enlace desires to include Catholic programming and is planning to add a Catholic mass and a Catholic teaching program in the near future. Although TBN Enlace features a majority of Protestant programs many others that are non-denominational appeal to both Catholics and Protestants. TBN Enlace is a free channel to cable operators and offers generous launch incentives for carriage. TBN Enlace has recently launched on systems in Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami and Albuquerque. It is available on the Olympusat digital package of Hispanic networks. Operators can contact TBN Enlace representatives at (800)-735-5542 for more information.