The Future Is Here

EP.14: Reaching the Next Generation of Latino/a Youth w/ Eli Bonilla, Sammy Rodriguez, Manny Dominguez

March 31, 2021 Eli Bonilla, Sammy Rodriguez, Manny Dominguez Season 2 Episode 14
The Future Is Here
EP.14: Reaching the Next Generation of Latino/a Youth w/ Eli Bonilla, Sammy Rodriguez, Manny Dominguez
Chapters
The Future Is Here
EP.14: Reaching the Next Generation of Latino/a Youth w/ Eli Bonilla, Sammy Rodriguez, Manny Dominguez
Mar 31, 2021 Season 2 Episode 14
Eli Bonilla, Sammy Rodriguez, Manny Dominguez

Episode 14 marks the first time we’ve had 3 Guests on our podcast, at once, and we’re so excited for you to hear this conversation. In this episode, our wise and forward-thinking host Tommy Nixon talks to three amazing and diverse Latino leaders, Eli Bonilla, Sammy Rodriguez, Manny Dominguez, about what the future of the Latino/a Church could look like, and how important the #BrownChurch is in the Kingdom of God. As is customary, The Future Is Here is available on ALL your favorite streaming services, including #spotify and #applepodcasts. So please leave a rating or review wherever you listen. 


Support the show (https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E12333&id=12)

Show Notes Transcript

Episode 14 marks the first time we’ve had 3 Guests on our podcast, at once, and we’re so excited for you to hear this conversation. In this episode, our wise and forward-thinking host Tommy Nixon talks to three amazing and diverse Latino leaders, Eli Bonilla, Sammy Rodriguez, Manny Dominguez, about what the future of the Latino/a Church could look like, and how important the #BrownChurch is in the Kingdom of God. As is customary, The Future Is Here is available on ALL your favorite streaming services, including #spotify and #applepodcasts. So please leave a rating or review wherever you listen. 


Support the show (https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E12333&id=12)

Speaker 1:

Are you listening? Hey fan , welcome to the features here , podcast. This is for the leaders, the dreamer provocateurs misfits, the frustrated frontline leaders who are charging in the kingdom. If you're tired of reactive church, it's time to build the church we dream of. Now the future is here. So don't get left behind. Are you listening? Let's get into it.

Speaker 2:

What's a family. This is Tommy Nixon with the future is here. Podcasts . I'm excited that you're joining in on another episode today, we got a great one for you. We are going to be talking about how do we reach the next generation of Latino youth? So if you're out there, you're one of our leaders, or you're a leader. Maybe you're a Latino. Maybe you're a working with Latino youth. Maybe you , uh, maybe you're living in the body . Oh , I don't know. But maybe this is what interests you. Maybe you are a young person who's Latino. And you're like, yeah, how are you going to reach me? I want to know. So , uh , we're glad that you're on. So today I got actually, we're switching it up. I got three special guests with us today. Um, and , uh, and I want to tell you a little bit story before I introduce them, because once these dudes start talking , uh , I'm going to lose control of the show. But , uh, but so I'm , I'm at this thing in last fall, I think it was October and it was this like networking thing of all these leaders and we're sitting there and just wanna , you know , be 100 , uh, predominantly a lot of white men. So , um, and allow the older men who were there, it was, it was all men. Um, so there's one thing, but , uh, and, and predominantly a lot of white men, right? And then these guys are big time. Like, you know , a lot of big time pastors, speakers, you know , authors and stuff. I'm not sure how I got invited to be on that, but I was there. So I snuck in , um , and I'm talking to this one pastor and he's like, so tell me what you do. And I'm like, yeah, I'm with urban youth workers. And, you know, at 1.2 million young people are leaving the church every year. And by 2045, you know, the majority in our country becomes the minority, but those who are 18 and under that happened in 2020. So I'm giving them the deal, right. Everything that this podcast is about. And he goes, well, what do you think the church is going to look like? And here's where it is. I look over across the room because it was really loud over in that corner of the room. And I looked over and, and everybody there was , um, maybe, maybe early thirties, but in their, like mid to late twenties. And they were all leaders of color. And, and I just looked over and I noticed all these cats and I just was like, that's what the future looks like right there. So the future is young, it's urban and it's multiethnic . And so I invited three of those guys to join me today. Um, and so man, I'm excited to have Manny, Sammy , Ellie on the podcast. Brothers. Welcome. Thanks for being on. Or thank you for having us all three of our names , Ryan. Uh , I love it, man. So let me, you know, just so that our , our listeners know who you guys are, man, if you guys can go ahead, we'll start with Manny, man. Manny, give us your name. Um, we , we also want to know it's kind of interesting to this cause there's a point to it. What's your ethnic makeup and where are you coming from, man? So give us your like context. We'll start with Matt .

Speaker 3:

Thank you . Honored to be on the future is here. Uh, my name is Emma Domingez. I go by Manny , uh, 26 years young. I was born and raised in Washington Heights in New York city, which is now recent thing, but , uh, that's, that's where I was born and raised and around a lot of Domini . Ganos I myself, I'm first generation American from the BR baby and single mom and two older siblings. And I just grew up in this six story apartment, building yall in upper Manhattan, Washington Heights with three Jews to the left of me, one African-American family in front of me and to rush and families to my right. And so, although it was little Dr and we spoke Spanish first, we still had this beautiful mix of European and African-American gay and any of it , uh, the , the chosen people, the, the , uh, Jewish brothers and sisters. And so that's kind of my makeup. I have been living in Fort worth, Texas for about to be five years now, which is crazy. And so if you want to talk culture shock, at some point, we can have that conversation because now I live in a white suburbia and Fort worth, and we're doing amazing work here, but yeah, man, that's me.

Speaker 2:

And then, and you're a youth pastor currently right now.

Speaker 3:

That's exactly right. All right . Cool, man.

Speaker 2:

Hey man. So glad you're on man. Sammy man hit us up, man, to let us know.

Speaker 3:

I mean, thank you again for the time. Honestly, we're excited for this podcast. Definitely pray for Ellie on this one. He , uh, he's going through something I'm just kidding. This has got to roast them right away. Um, no, my name is Samuel Rodriguez . I am originally from the Bay area, the gay area. You know what that is? If not, that's okay. That's okay. I'm actually born and raised right in that Vallejo Benicia area. Um, Bleo home would be 40 if you know that moving on. Um, then down in Southern California for the past close to 10 years now, which is crazy, a good amount in orange County. And then now my wife and I live in Los Angeles. We're living in West Hollywood currently. And , um , my ethnic makeup, my dad's Puerto Rican, Mexican. My mom is white , um, and more Norwegian European background. And then shout out to many, my family. We lived as missionaries in the Dominican Republic for four years in Santiago . So , uh , being able to live there, my dad just as a fun little thing is my dad had six brothers and seven sisters or something like that. It's either like 13, I lose count. That's how many we got , um, literally have over 201st cousins. It's real. I meet new cousins every time I come to a family reunion, you know how it is, it is what it is. And then , uh, my wife and I, so I've been a missionary. Um , and I help lead a tour called carry the love, been a missionary for about 15 years. Um, as well as working with churches, organizing and gathering together in LA. So honored to be on here and excited for what's going to happen, bro. I love it, man.

Speaker 2:

Ellie , dude, give us the rundown, bro,

Speaker 4:

But I'm going to bring it all together. Is that cool? Yeah . So I am I'm Ellie Bonia , Ellia , Sara Bonia Bonia . Um, and I am actually, I was born in Pasadena, California. So shout out LA, my father,

Speaker 2:

I was born in Pasadena. That's okay.

Speaker 4:

I'm going to bring it all together. My father, he was a youth pastor in East LA while he was getting his theological degree at fuller in Pasadena, which is why I was born there. Uh, but I was raised two hours from the border of San Antonio, Texas, shout out South side. Uh, so I was raised there. My mother , uh, my F ethnic makeup is my mother's from Dominican Republic. Shout out Santo Domingo, moved to Manny's neighborhood , uh, out in Newark Patterson , area Passaic. Uh, so they're from Northern New Jersey. All my family's still out there. They married Puerto Rican's from the Bronx and Queens family up there in the Northwest . Um , my father's from my father's from , uh, it will, and on my father's side too , we married Puerto Rican's man. Look at that. You can't get away from us. He's from Nogales raised in the Fs. So shout out to the chiller Tango's uh, from Mexico , uh, moved to Texas, they met in Tennessee and now I live in Southern Florida with all the [inaudible] and , uh, and I serve as Samuel Rodriguez is a national millennial director for the NHCLC , uh, and worked full-time at one home , just trying to figure out this whole thing. So there you go.

Speaker 2:

And just for clarity, he's not talking about this Sammy Rodriguez. He saw him come out. The real one is a man of God. Yeah , absolutely man. And so , uh, both wonderful men and , uh, guys stay so much for being on, man. I , I really appreciate you guys. And so , um, we're talking about how do we reach the next generation of , of Latino youth now, a little disclaimer here. I know some of you guys are listening out there and you're like, why did Tommy not call me for this podcast? Listen, I know you guys also know, and I know a lot of Latino leaders and I know you guys you're all down and I love you. I just thought it would be neat to have these three men that I got to meet and engage with this thing in this networking thing. So don't, don't be salty on me. All right. So we just wanted to get their , their input on it. I thought it was interesting too, because of the different , uh, ethnic backgrounds, all different ethnic backgrounds and also from different parts of the country, really you have coming from right the East coast, the Midwest, and then the West coast. So I thought it would be interesting. So don't, don't get off . Don't get salted with me. All right, man. Don't, don't send me the email. So , um, but let's get into it, man. So from your guys's , uh, like, like really quick too , I just, cause this is going to be important to the conversation really quick. What is your guys's church background? Like where did you guys grow up? Did you grow up in a Spanish speaking church? Did you grow up in a charismatic church? Like real quick, like Manny, like where'd you grow up man? Or are you came to Jesus a little bit later too? Didn't you?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's right. So , uh, Dominican, loosely Catholic. I mean very loosely. We went to church twice a year , uh , single mom, my whole life. And so she recently got married to my step. Pops was awesome. And so I came to faith , uh, at 1314 because I was walking around Washington Heights and just stumbled upon this dude and invited me to church. And so that was a non Bynum, but high key Pentecostal , uh , Latino church, Spanish speaking with the English translator flex so bad. The English speaking folks that want to walk in can be a part of a Latino led church. We didn't have too many of those, but we started translating for them just in case the Lord will bring them. And so that's my experience. I've been walking with Jesus like 13 years now. And my, my context was , uh , Pentacostal a Latino Spanish. And then now I served as a youth pastor for a 60 year old church that is highly conservative. And so halacha boy,

Speaker 2:

I love it, Sammy, man. What , where you come from?

Speaker 3:

Well , my church would be under the, it would be more Latino Pentecostal , so connected with the ag , which a lot of churches are, but I think then it's going non , so has the connection with ag , but it's, nondenom, it's actually Christian worship center, which is fun because Sammy Rodriguez, you know , uh, Ellie's boss is a part of that network in Northern California. So we had a few charges cause we were in the Bay area, moved around and then obviously the Dominican, a few things. So what, we're a Dr. It's full on Spanish speaking church, but our , my home church in Northern California is more Latino Pentecostal, but it's , it's, multi-ethnic multi-generational um, with a more Latino band in that Pentecostal. Now I used to say this all the time, cause I'm like two hours from Bethel church and I have a bunch of friends up at Bethel, but growing up, I had no idea they were that close. Like I had no idea. Like it's a very, when you're in this group, it's more this group, but it's , it's also too, like with social media, that's changed. So, but it was that. And then now down here in orange County and in LA we're working with a lot of churches, but uh , my wife and I been going to and attending Hillsong and so two different , uh , churches and expressions, but both incredible.

Speaker 2:

Yeah man. No, that's cool. Ellie man, where he come from brother. Yeah, man. I come from all Spanish, small little ,

Speaker 4:

Um, singing gorditos for three hours. The Helias every single night sleeping under the pews. My mother , uh, beating me up if I , uh , was talking too loud or trying to run around as a little rug rat. Uh, so that's how I grew up my father when he took over the church, there's about like , uh , 40 to 50 , uh , we've always had church in the hood. So we were shout out Denver Heights, San Antonio , uh, we, we started church there. Uh, God blessed us tremendously. Uh, we were a part of the G 12 movement. Uh, God , it was shout out G 12 back early two thousands. Uh, obviously a lot of those churches grew a lot. Our church grew a lot from that , uh, to multiple services, kind of like Manny, we're a Spanish church with English expression. And so our largest services are all in Spanish. Uh, and as I grew up, I oversaw the English portions of our church. And so , uh, just tried my best to reconcile all the younger generation that was like, we prefer English. We want to bring our black friends in our white friends at church and we want to bring them to the English expression , uh, helping along with that. So

Speaker 2:

That's so good. And the reason I ask all that is because I want to make sure for our listeners that you understand that, that you know, this , the breadth of what you guys have experienced. And that really helps for this next question, because I want to know from a, from a Latino church perspective, what, what do you guys think needs to change and really what needs to be kept? Um, and , and the structure and the movement of the church specifically, as we think about how are we going to reach this next generation of young people. And when , when I talk about 1.2 million young people , um, there there's a large percentage there that's also Latino, you know? And, and so it's like, how are we going to reach this next generation? Um , in such like a kind of tumultuous tension filled time. So from your guys' church background, man, I like, what do you guys think needs to change? What do we need to, or challenge and , and rethink about our , the structure of the church. Um, and what , what are things that we need to hold on to that, that you were like, you know what, I, I received this as a child or as a, as a young person and when we want to hold onto that, so we're not here to burn everything to the ground, but, but we are here to challenge some things. And you who would like to speak on that, Tammy one , many .

Speaker 5:

I know , I love it. I love it. Uh, for me, the first thing that came to mind was, and this is something that I think needs to change is in my experience as a youth pastor now for about five years, full time is social anxiety is at an all time high. I mean, I didn't even know what that phrase was growing up. I don't know if social anxiety existed when I was a teenager, but now that I'm working with teenagers specifically, it's, it's, it's through the roof. I mean, young people don't even know how to engage with each other in bigger crowds because of a fear of being misunderstood or rejected or isolated. And so what they do typically is isolate themselves and then try to connect on their phone. And so , uh, what , what the church has historically done a great job of, but I think is no longer as effective is try to say all the right things and model of behavior that shows our members and our visitors that we need to be adequate in our speech and excellent in our presentation. I'm not promoting, be a sloppy, you know , just whatever , wherever the wind blows kind of church structure. What I am submitting is can we be a little more sensitive in our structure, in our planning to the generation that says I'm anxious as walking into the room. And so, and you delivering a cookie cutter, clean message in everything that you do in the way you're engaging me. I think that needs to pivot into a more authentic, just like, Hey, I love you. I see you. I want to walk this out with you whenever you, whenever you're ready, I'm just here. And so when I went up to see change is the metrics through which we measure success in the church, from people getting baptized people, pleasing membership to man people just to make , they could belong here and taking their time on the journey. That is discipleship.

Speaker 2:

That's good, man. Well, so let me, let me give you guys this, like, so for 16 years I did community development work. We worked and lived in , um, uh, uh, really, it was an immigrant neighborhood neighborhoods and all Latino, predominantly Mexican, but yet other people folks there from El Salvador and Honduras and all these different places. Right. So we're working with all these kids. Okay. Now we're in North orange County. So we were in Fullerton. If it's by Anaheim, I'm in Southern California. And so we're sharing the gospel with these kids, all, you know, everyday , cause we ran after-school programs and all that. Right. And , and so then it was like, Hey, I want to , I want to get you into the local church. Well, we had, we had invited a Spanish-speaking church to come and into the neighborhood. And so they were there. And so I'm trying to send those kids there and those kids are coming back to me going, Hey, pastor told me I'm going to hell. Cause I got tattoos. Right. Uh , Pat , like Pat, like, like straight up, they'd be like, man. Um, do they gossip about each other all the time? Like the pastor brings up, people's like dirty business, like dirty laundry, like up on the front. They're like, I I'm not going there. So then I was like, okay, shoot. Like where? Okay then . Okay. Let's go to, we had some big orange County, mega churches, right. Big youth groups and stuff. We walk in there and they're just like, no, I cannot, I , I can't do this man. I'm like the only Brown kid here. Like I can't, this is not my, like , I feel uncomfortable. And so we really found ourselves at like, I was at a loss, like where am I supposed to? And so we had to create our own thing. Right. And a lot of people do that. What would that look like? Right. For like, if you were , if you guys, and or maybe you guys have done this, like what would that, you know, to kind of what you're saying, Manny, what would that look like to reach these, these young, Latino youth that are, that are in the neighborhoods that are like, they need Jesus, but they're just like, I can't get with what I like. Is there a what's the middle path there? Or what does that look? Anybody?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Yeah. I'll just say like, I think a lot of it comes down to even semantics in the sense of, we want to reach this next generation, but we want to reach them how we talk and how we understand or how we process things. And I think that that's human nature for us to want to reach someone how we've understood and a question we've got to ask ourselves and say, God, get me out of my experience out of my perspective, what are they seeing? I want to walk a mile in their shoes. And I think one of the most important things to do is to be like, cause I know exactly what you're talking about, Tommy, where you're like, you bring them to one church, right? The OG Latino church, which is incredible. But it's like Sunday, it's so funny. It's like, Sunday's best, you better rock up with a beautiful soap . You know what I'm saying? You better be rocking it. If I were a church and if I wear a hat in my church, man, you would just be getting by. Everybody just knocked out. But how is it that that's, you, you have to look presentable, but then like, all these kids are saying, well, they're gossiping or, or I have a tattoo I'm going to hell. And a lot of it was this appearance, not everyone, but there's this appearance of righteousness, but then this, it doesn't translate. And then you go over it to more of a primarily white church. Funny, funny example. Okay. Funny example. Not going to say the church. I was in a white church in orange County and Pentecost as we like to talk back during the message, don't we? Amen. Let's go, come on. You better talk to them . You know what I'm saying? Like just going and there's one pastor. I mean, it's like a library in this church. No, but not bad. Everyone's quiet. You know, he's speaking and he's talking about dry bones, Ryzen and I'm . And I literally say, come on, preach it . And he like jumped at the altar , like school, like genuinely like Oh, and looked over and he thought I yelled out like dry bones or something like that. Like he was like, he thought I was like, heckling him . I'm like, no, I literally in the middle of the service, I was like, no, that's good. I mean, keep preaching. And so I'm saying all that. It's like, it's these small things. Like I use this as an example, right. A sandal. I don't have one around. But , but when you ask any other culture, a lot of times, like, let's say why culture, Hey, when you see a sandal , what do you see? Everyone's like the beach sunshine summer. You ask a Latino, Hey, when I bring up a junk, like what does that mean? It's discipline. And it's something as simple as that, right? If we could get sandal mistaken in culture, right? What about the word love? What about the word reaching the next generation? And so even in our own culture, we want to reach it, how we want to reach it. But then we really have to amplify the voice of youth of the youth. Just like Manny was saying about anxiety, right? The ho the suicide rate has passed the homicide rate for gen Z. So, so we're talking about all this stuff through social media that they feel so connected to the globe, so disconnected to their family. And so I think all I'm saying all that is that for me, it has to be relation relationally driven, right. Has to be authentic in that way. Right. As , as much as we can. But then it also has to be like, how do we reach them with where they're at real problems? How do we educate ourselves, but then reach them how they need to be reached rather than how I want to reach them. It's nuanced. But I think is very important on how we could reach the next generation of youth leaders.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, man. No, that's so good, man. I , um, I think a lot about this too. It's like if you guys were, and maybe you have, I don't know your complete stories, but you know, if you were, if you were , uh, planning a church, you know what I mean? What, what would that, and it was to reach Latino youth, even specifically like man, and maybe it was in this specific area or context , it's like, what, you know, what could that look like? Um, and, and the secondary question is , um, you know, and we'll get into this too, but how, how do you also walk the line between honoring those who came before us? Right. Like honoring the pastor, honoring, you know, our , our, you know, if , if you're spiritual dad or , or maybe your dad was the pastor, right. Like Ellie , like how do you honor that? And just go, man, we want to honor that and bring some of that forward, but also we need to change it. Um, and , and what could that look like? Cause I gotta be honest. I know a lot of , a lot of people are having those conversations with their parents. Uh, you know, if they grew up in the ministry, they're having those conversations with the pastor and those power stations, aren't going so well there they're like, no. And so you see this like ugly split, you know, or this, or, okay, we're going to keep on doing it, how we've done it. And we just get smaller and smaller and smaller and not having the impact and more and more young people are like, I'm good. I'm out. Any thoughts on that, man? Ellie, you want to , you want to try? You want to go on that one brother?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, man. Um, so first off , uh , shout out the OJI because you had them on your podcast. I was going to reference Brown church, but

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no . Hey, if you haven't heard that episode, man , um , get out. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

A good book. I read it in like a day, cause it was just , um, Dr. Romero just crushed it . Also shout out another, some homework for everybody that's listening , uh, being Latino in Christ. You need to read that book. Whoever is struggling with your identity. We'll jump into that a little bit later if you like what you're hearing, keep listening, but also make sure to check out our newest leadership resource, the leadership journey by hitting up our [email protected] , he , uh, he mentioned something that to get so true. It's a , it's a part, I guess you could say of critical race theory, you know, whatever you think of critical race theory. Uh that's whatever. But I think that one phrase he had was spiritual capital that the Latino church has that not many other cultures , um, or not, I don't want to say many other cultures because various cultures , uh, continue to have deep spirituality. Um, but the prevailing American church right now is definitely lacking , um, in spiritual capital. Now, what do I mean by spiritual capital? Um, what I mean is that the, the methodology of church has really made church into a machine , uh, that no longer is run by the individual, but it's run by efficiency. And I've seen a lot of my friends they'll leave the Latino church for sure. But then they'll go to these larger churches and the machine would just chew them up. Right. And , uh, and spit them out or they'll go. And like you said, though, it, it doesn't look like it's built for them because the reality is , uh , it's not built for them. It's built for those that can contribute financially. And so for, for, for us stepping forward, what we need to understand is no one of the cultures are the answer to revival in America, but definitely each culture holds a spiritual weight to it. That is a part of the greater puzzle. What do I believe the Latino holds right now? There's a family crisis in America. Like the nuclear family is just in disarray and right now who's holding it down. It's the Latino by sheer numbers. You can add also into that, everyone from majority world, from Africa, Asia, the various other groups, the Brown church as Dr. Romero would say. And so I think that there are a lot that we can hold true to in terms of the community aspect with community does come chiasmus. So I can't, I can't front with that. People are going to gospel.

Speaker 2:

Do I , I'm just saying, do you have to do it from the front? You know what I'm saying? I like that.

Speaker 4:

And I've been in those services by the way, my dad doing that , but I've, I've been in those churches and they are awful, but what is equally awful is treating your members , um, like a, a dollar amount. And so, you know, do you want to pick your poison? So we're trying to find an in-between , uh, somewhere in between structure and spontaneity. I think you find the beauty of a multicultural expression of Christianity. Uh, and hopefully we can crack that code soon,

Speaker 2:

Man. Not, no, it's so good, man. That was so good. I hear here's a question for you guys that, and then I'm just going , going off script guys, because I want to , I just want to wonder what you think, how much of the , of the structure of, of, you know, predominantly Latino churches in the United States, how much is that based off of a Western missionary model that was, that was given, you know, in Latin America, in these other places in the world, that was, that was exported from , uh, Western European Christianity , um , in Western thought and structure and practice. Um, and, and how much do you think that's a factor in the way things are run, you know, today and that kind of tension between like, well, how do we move into the future? And , and to what you're saying, Ellie , like, how do we retain a sense of identity , um, uh , Latino identity or , uh , ethnic cultural identity. That's so important to Dr. Romero's point. Like it's a gift that we should receive, you know , um, you know, anybody, any thoughts on any of that? Cause I I've thought a lot about that and I just go, man. Uh, one of the , the structure, things that I find in, in , uh , even we're talking about the Latino church right now, but is that kind of top-down authoritarian leadership, like maintain control, power structure, kind of that, that I just go, man, why is it, why does it have to be that way? And I've seen that choke out , um, young believers, you know , that are just, they want Jesus, they want to, and they just, it just kills them right now. And now that's not just a Latino church issue. I, I see that that's, that's across the board and I , I think there's some, there's some white power structure things that , that we could get into, but, you know , anyway, so , uh , check out the rest of the other podcasts. But , um, but yeah, so any, any thoughts on that

Speaker 4:

Keep going Ellie ? Oh, I have a lot to say about that. Uh, well it , it, it definitely does depend on what a Western structure you bring in because right. Not all , uh, not all Western structures that we're calling [inaudible] well, I mean, Catholicism, delis costs us all that, you know, that, that struggle down there. But I think for, for all three of us that are on here, the Pentecostal charismatic expression , um, you know, even from Azusa and how it's spread now, it's , uh, the, the explosion of the Pentecostal church in the world. I think we're going to hit close to 600 million very soon. We're the fastest growing faith movement. I think what happened , uh , in a lot of it was the , the style of the movement was tearing. It was long form three hours. We're , we're going to yell, we're going to shout , uh , it was super expressive. And one thing that I, that I know to be true, and I've seen it in a lot of Pentecostal charismatic , um, movements, is that what used to be like fresh can become traditional really quick. And so it might not be traditional in the sense of the sacraments from, you know , the Anglican expressions or the Catholic expressions, but even the yelling and the shouting to force God to do something. And I think that the innocence of a lot of movements really , uh , lose , loses its way once we're able to quantify. And a lot of these movements that happened in Latin America and even here in the States , uh, became quantifiable and then you were able to transfer that. And , uh, and I think it really murky the waters. And so my, my question to the group , uh, to piggyback off of what you said, and maybe , uh, many and Sammy , you can , uh, speak to this a little bit as well. Like what have you guys seen that , uh, that still has that, that gritty power filled like, Hey, at any point, this is good exploding. We'll go off script, but we're not just going to do that because we need to prove a point. Like, have you guys seen any examples of that? And , um, and how has it been received or what have you guys noticed?

Speaker 3:

I haven't seen any examples of that. I'm , I'm in , uh, in process , uh, in my context of creating that, but to your point, Emily , I mean, there's so much to say, and when you're doing it in a context that doesn't even know that world, you kind of got to start from way back and take them by the hand and walk them through it. And so that's where I am now is man. In my context, we are excellent. Our planning center is just clean and we all, we end on the dot every Sunday, baby. I mean, it is weird. I think I got it .

Speaker 4:

That's a cultural thing. My friend, I don't know that life. What is he talking about? I'll explain it later. It's fine guys. So,

Speaker 3:

So to all our listeners that don't know what I'm saying, don't just go to a church in Texas. You'll see what I'm saying, but , uh, specifically , uh, um , I'm in that tension. I haven't seen it done, but I think it is so important for that to occur for us to hold the plan loosely and invite the spirit to move, man, I would love to see it. Send me, have you seen that, you know, I was thinking of what you were saying, Manny , Ellie, and then Tommy, what you asked about specifically the top-down leadership structure. And I thought about this, I thought about, you know, there are things I always look at it in this category. There are things, you know, right. There are things you don't know. And then there are the third category is there are things you don't know, you don't know. Right. And I think a lot of times people are in a place where they just don't know what they don't know. And I feel like even as we talked about the Latino structure, whether it's , um, controlling or top-down or any of that category, you know, and talking about , um, you know, something that's more organic spawn , uh , spontaneous as well as structure like Ellie said, I think that as we look at, you know, and honor the old and less of old, but the ones who've run before us. I think that what I was talking with a good friend of mine, Latino pastor, son, he'd taken over for his father in LA. And he was giving me feedback, which I agreed. And he said, he goes, I really feel like there was an addiction too big in the church. And like we had this addiction to being, you know, and , and you know, the 2010s and two thousands and nineties and eighties. And even before that, there was an addiction. Like we just want to grow. Success is big. And he was saying, man, I think that we're all seeing that success truly is impact and impacting and serving your city. And if you, if , if the by-product of it is you have a mega church. Awesome. But, but the goal shouldn't be to have thousands. And then your whole community is, is , um, not whole, but part of your community is unhealthy or you're not impacting your city. And he was sharing with me the heart change and even the amazing thing and what he was saying, he was saying as he started having these conversations, cause he loves his dad again, my dad does a ministry, doesn't run a local church. Right. But he was talking to me and he was saying, it was turbulent. He was saying, it was really turbulent in the beginning when he addressed things that needed to change, he goes, but now they're starting to coast and really be able to like run together as he's bringing up these different things. So I think that a lot of times we think of Matthew 18, you know, biblical confrontation. We always think Tommy I'm mad at you. And you're like, I'm sorry. And I'm like, all right , cool. You know, but we don't realize that sometimes when we confront things, it's going to actually blow up and that's what's needed to happen when you confront it and blows up. And you're like, well, maybe I should have confronted that in love. And so I think that's what we're seeing is like this switching of this addiction too big sometimes to now truly serve in the city and impacting those who God has given us as a shepherd . So yeah .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. No, that's good. It's interesting. Cause I wonder like it does feel like there's a lot of conversations that need to be had. Right. I mean, and there's a lot of things that need to be ended , but they need to be done in a, in a culturally sensitive and understanding like way with that kind of like cultural IQ. Right. Um, where, where there's honor and respect for the elders , um, for the family, for the, for even like, you know, the structure or the movement of that. Um, but we still need to talk about some things, right? I mean, there's like, Hey look, the writing's on the wall for the church by large it's young people are like, I'm out like your gospel. And what you've been living is not compelling to me. I'm out. And, and the other thing that I ran into was , uh , we're sharing the gospel, living out Jesus amongst all these young people. Um, and they were unchurched. So that was another thing that was really difficult as we kind of started moving into church spaces. And I gotta be honest, I failed at this so much. I , I planted a church multi-ethnic church, a third of the church was young, Latino. Right. And I've known them since they were children. Now they're, they're some of your guys' age. And so, so now we're walking, but they, they really struggle with some of the functions of the church. Like, and , and, and at the same time, I didn't want to the authoritarian that they've experienced in other churches. So I wasn't like hard on like, Hey, where are you at? Hey, how come you not here early? Hey, how come you're not here on Wednesday night? How come you not sleeping under the Pew? How come you know all that. Right. But, but here's, what's interesting. This is what they told me, Tommy, that's confusing for me. I'd rather you tell me what to do. And I'm like, I can't win right now. Now this is an outsider. Right. So just so we're keeping 100, I , um, dominantly white mixed with Filipino, but my dad lives in Mexico. I have Mexican brother and sisters. So, and then lived in the Vaddio for whatever alone . Right. So we know you're secretly Latino, but uh, one time my mentor, Larry Costa , he for sure thought I was mixed. And so he goes, man, us Brown brothers got sick together. And I remember being like, Hey Larry, like I'm not Latino. And his face was like, he was so disappointed in me. It was, I, I never wished to be more, you know, Latino in my life then at that moment because I felt so bad for him anyway, all that to say what for you guys? So I'm trying to draw it out of you. What, what are the things we really need to talk about , uh, that, that those, those conversations that you guys need to have with your elders to go, here's some things I think we need to talk about in the church.

Speaker 4:

We can reach this next generation

Speaker 2:

Trying to get us in trouble. I am saying, bro , Hey, the people, you know, don't listen to this, it's fine. You don't, you know, any thoughts

Speaker 4:

I'm going to take a shot. Um , uh, we, we need to talk about a mission. Let me define the , the current Latino church in America. The current Latino church in America is a cultural time capsule that caters to when the minister immigrated to the United States. So if you go to Washington Heights and Manny, my, my grandfather had a church out there. So if you don't mind, I'm going to talk on his authority and on my own. Uh, so he had a large Dominican church and Passaic, New Jersey. And , uh, and it was dope, but it definitely was stylistic too , when they immigrated to the States. Right. But you had a lot of people that immigrated during that time. So they're going to show up and because it's communal and it's super family, you're going to have though , it's going to be full likewise here in, in , in Texas, I'm sure here in Florida as well, a you, you can name the flavor of the church by when the pastor got here and his proficiency in English. And so if he's very like immigrant and rasa and , um , we're going to do our thing, you're not going to get any English. And then also you, you can become opposed to the dominant culture, which is a , that's an identity issue. I'm sure we'll . We can talk about that later, where then you have that conflict between the TexMex and the Mexican immigrant. First-generation second third, that happens on all our regions. And so what I think is that there just needs to be a change in mission for the Latino pastor, where you're in , are going to have to wear two spiritual hats. My friends you're going to have to be a pastor, but you're also going to have to be a missionary because this is not Venezuela. This is not Mexico. That's not Columbia , you're in the United States. And that's not a bad thing. We all came here for a reason, but we can do so much more than have a community, a Assata after church. We can be a benefit to every culture we get to encounter. And perhaps that could be through our kids, but it needs to start with our leadership first. Yep .

Speaker 2:

I love that . I mean, that goes on to what Dr. Merrill was talking about, about being a gift, like, like there's a gift of the Brown church for 500 years. Right. And that, that was longer than the Protestant movement. I think that's what he was saying. Right. Like, and, and so if you look at it like that, I love that man. And , and I think that's, that's really compelling. Um, as, as we, I, I'm gonna only got a couple more questions, man. Cause I know we can be on here for hours friends, but , um, but tell me a little bit about as we reach this next generation of, of this, of young, Latino , um, young people and so how much , um, and what does it look like to also help them root in their cultural and ethnic identity as well as their identity in Christ? Like what are some thoughts on that? What do you guys think the role of that is as you think about that? Um, because that , that's part of the issue here is, is as we model ourselves at other church growth movements or we model, you know what I mean? Or I love everything you just said, Ellie , like, like , uh, that was so profound. And, and so it's like, whatever, we're modeling that after , um, you can S there's a sense of loss for that. And there's also just the reality of if you're a 1.5 generation or second generation or third generation, you know, you're, you're in a sense like, poachable right. You're, you're, you're, you're, you're not really from there, you're a third culture kid. You're kind of like, who am I? Right. And, and L you had talked about this on a post recently about , um, you know, being Afro Latino , like who, who am I like, how do I reconcile all of who I am? So what , what role do you think that takes in, in reaching this next generation, specifically? This , uh , young Latinos,

Speaker 5:

Manny , we'll all do . You're going to hit that I posted was so fire Ellie . Yo , I got on follow Ellie , Bonnie y'all ,

Speaker 4:

But you got that, that he, that Dominican Northeast , like you lived live in that, I know there's a lot of tension in the Northeast from that. So, yeah .

Speaker 5:

So I I'll , I'll speak briefly. Um, for me, I'll start with this comment. I didn't even know that being a minister that, that, that being someone that can lead people to Christ was because I was Latino specifically. So although I was at this Latino church, my, my senior pastor did , I think it was two decades in a federal prison encounters. God in the pen comes on fire for God. And I'm like, duh, my pastor had this crazy encounter with God. Of course, he's going to be on fire and release people to Christ, but that's not me though. And so I never attributed it to him being Latino. I attributed it to him being in prison. And that's why he's somebody that's sharing the gospel. So for me, my identity crisis was found in , I, I knew early that I had the ability to connect with people. Relationally. I knew that me speaking two languages with some was of some benefit. I knew that I had the charisma to connect and I loved God passionately. I wanted to share him, but because I was Latino and I didn't see when I looked around any Latino pastors that I can like model my life after I felt like it was just wasn't for me. And so succinctly , uh , in the New York context, y'all my family is still living in Washington Heights and I can't think of one church to recommend for them to attend. And they're Spanish speaking. And they're heartbreaking that I ha I I'm telling my mom like, yo tune in to this other church in Florida, cause they're popping up . And they're like, and I support that, but that in my childhood context that there's no place to point them. That's a healthy Spanish speaking church that would disciple them. And so , uh, and I don't even know if that answered the question, but I just think, I thought about,

Speaker 2:

I mean, honestly I think that's , that's so good man, as we just kind of wrap , you know, like, you know, our time together . I wish we had more time, bro . I'm going to have you guys on a guy . I don't know, man. We'll figure it out, bro. Um, but uh, you know, as , as we kinda wrap man, it's, it's interesting because you're running what you just said, Manny is that that's the issue that I've found. And , and one of the thing that I love about you three is that, and one of the reasons I have you on and I, and there's a bunch of other leaders, too , some of you guys are listening, man, part of our community. That's why you guys are so important. If you're a leader in the kingdom of God, your Latino, your ethnic and cultural background is a gift and we need you. We need you to continue to be out on the streets . What can you do plant those churches to start those ministries, to, to share your voice, right? To have the hard conversations with , with your pastor or, you know what I mean? Like, like we need to want to figure this out together. And , and UIW arm wants to be a place for that where we can be , um, uh, you know, a place where we can figure that out together. We, I can set the table and, and you can have the conversation, right? I mean, that's what I'm here. I'm a , I'm a bridge person. But the reason I asked you three, two is because I had heard word on the street was that you guys had gotten together to talk about Latino leadership in the United States like this next generation. And so we want to continue to follow you guys. We want to learn from you. We want to , um, I'm here to support you. So I'll said , I'll say it on re re you know , on record , um, um, for you guys. So however we can help see that happen. We want to see it, man. So as we wrap, man, if you guys have , can people follow you guys and , and know what you're up to get, give your, give your stats, man. Let people know, look, look at the humility of these cats, man. I love it, man. I'm just going to go ahead and Sammy,

Speaker 3:

The only thing I would say as I'll give you this, and I'll , I'll follow up with this. If you're Latino right now, and God has chosen you to be just such a bridge. And if you're listening to this podcast, I believe that you're in one of the greatest, you know, decades since the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus. And I think that God has placed you as a Latino to bridge the gap. It's the beautiful thing about Latinos, friends with so many different cultures. And so I think one of the biggest things that we're dreaming of, we're just in the beginning, they stopped me. Like we told you, but we're just dreaming of how can we, not that we have it all together, but give permission away to this next generation of youth, these young twenties, teenagers even before then and how can we do that? How can we resource them? How can we give everything away for free? How can we literally just say we're in your corner, whatever it takes because we've experienced control or different things like that. Not only in the Latino church, in church, in the world everywhere, we just want to be as much as we can like Jesus. And so , um, I'd say, I mean, for me, I'm on Instagram. Um , follow us. We'll have more information as we're going now, as far as even what this platform is going to be like. And then the biggest thing I would ask for is just prayer. Um, I really, really, really believe that there's going to be, you know, both that equality and equity and that investment into the Latino community. Um, and we're just getting started. So

Speaker 2:

I love it, man. Okay. We'll give him your handle though. What's how can they follow you on iTunes at Samuel and rod ? All right , man. Manny, what final thoughts brother. And how can we follow you? I don't know your , I know your wife actually is the gangster on IgE , bro. So, and talk about, talk about identity and, and , and culture and like, so anyway, let them know ,

Speaker 3:

Um , kinda dude , you gotta have those back, but uh, I appreciate the final thoughts. I'm like you can have three Latinos on here and just not give them a final thought moment. Like , like how he did it even add one last thing

Speaker 2:

I know, bro , I got a wrap . That's my butt . Go ahead.

Speaker 3:

Uh , final thought exit is three. I've been cooking. Exit is three, four for the sermon. I'm going to preach next week. And , and Moses stands before God, God is in this burning Bush and he's telling Moses like you, I need you to pull up and lead my people out of Egypt to the promised land. And the first words that come out of Moses mouth repeatedly are like, who am I?

Speaker 5:

Who am I to do that? Who am I like? I , I, my , my, my tongue gets tied up. I stutter . I can relate to that. As a Latino, I talk really fast. Who's going to listen to me, who could keep up? Who am I? And then God responds to that saying that I am, will be with you. And so here's my word. So the Latino listener, the person of color listening , even my white brothers, brother, and sister, listening, who you are matters so much to God that what he sees in you and who he sees you to be is so much greater than you see you to be. And so for a moment after you hear this podcast, I want you to have a moment where you sit and you ask God, who do you see in me? God , give me eyes to see me the way you do. Because my limited view of myself is not what I want to live through. I want to live through, I want to live into the identity that you've given me. And for Moses, it was a stuttering murder ex murderer, you know, foreigner and Midian married this woman that he shouldn't have, but he did and started a family with dude who then got to use to lead the people into the wilderness. And then ultimately through Joshua to the promised land. So you can follow me at many Logan Domingez on IgG. That's all I have. I try to keep it simple. And my wife is popping and she's beautiful. And she is at crows with a promise. You can follow her too .

Speaker 2:

Yeah . Brothers out there. If you want to know that there's a God look at all of our wives. Um , and you'll see, you'll see, God, God does miracles since Natalie man, let them know bro. What's up? Yeah . Speaking of our wives ,

Speaker 4:

Uh, yeah, I was, I tricked my wife into marrying me and uh , been tricking her every single day that it was a good decision. Uh, and shout out, shout out to her. She's a Palestinian American. I'm sure you can have another conversation about that. If you want the Arab Christians , uh, the , the EI is popping. All right . We're doing some stuff too. Um, so yeah, my, my final thoughts ,

Speaker 5:

Uh , is that, you know,

Speaker 4:

I think that we can, we can get wrapped up in the complexity of our ethnic makeup and our racial makeup, especially within the Latino, not being a monolith, we're all very various races as well. Um, most of the racism I experienced was from fellow Latinos because , uh, so I negative so more modern . Uh, all the N words that I received were not from white people. They were from the rasa , even though my dad was more Raza than everybody. Uh, and, and I think that one thing that we can do as the Latino community is really understand the first and foremost, our citizenship is of heaven. And once you understand that your citizenship is not from here, then your ears will be open to the message that God wants to give you. Just like Moses. Moses was a Hebrew growing up in Egypt. He knew how to navigate both languages. And we know that Jesus may have been even trilingual because of where he grew up in Galilee. Uh, it's fine. If you're going to stumble around in your languages, it's fine. As long as the language that you're using is to speak life. And so continue to do that. Whether you're Afro-Latino Asian, Latino, white, Latino , uh , whatever. So you guys got this , uh , I believe in you. I know Sammy Manny, we believe in all the young guns out there , uh , doing their thing. Thank you again, Tommy. And if you want to look for me, I'm under Ellie Bonia Jr. Uh , on all platforms. I love it, man. Well, brothers, thank you guys so much for your time, man. I love you guys, man. I'm a big fan. So , um, however we can support you France. Thanks for joining us for another episode of the features here podcast, man, join us next time as we get into another topic on the future

Speaker 1:

Here, pace. If you enjoy what you heard today, we don't want to leave you empty handed. So there is a couple of resources to help you shape the future. Get access to our latest leadership resource by visiting U Y wwi.org and join our email list.