EULESS, Texas (BP) – The crowd of approximately 700 Hispanic young people sang and swayed to the Christian singers and musicians at Cross City Español Friday night, March 19. The sight didn’t surprise Pastor Humberto Gonzalez. In fact, it’s one he expects to see more and more.
At some point in the middle of this year, the Hispanic population in Texas will become the largest in the Lone Star State. It’s a culture point many have been expecting for a while, or at least the last 10 years.
From 2010-2019, the U.S. Census Bureau reported, the Hispanic population in Texas grew by 53.6 percent. The non-Hispanic Black population was second with growth of 15.6 percent. That parallels what the state demographer said last June – that Hispanics will become the largest population group in Texas by mid-2021.
At the beginning of the year a Christian company, Sancvera Events, approached Gonzalez about a gathering for young people that would feature notable Hispanic Christian artists. Like many pastors, Gonzalez wanted to minister to those in need but also be aware of public health concerns.
“I was not sure of hosting such an event because of the pandemic,” he said. “But as I prayed for God to show me His will, the Lord broke my heart. In my nine years of living in this area, I’ve seen a lot of young adults who are lost. So, my motivation became to see this young generation of Hispanics surrender to Christ in an event and environment where they could feel comfortable with the music they like.”
The lineup featured stars of Hispanic Christian music with a strong dose of reggaeton and hip hop. Singer Travy Joe’s testimony centers around his battle with cancer and doctors telling him he needed a miracle to survive. The Night of Worship at Cross City Español was his first performance in his comeback and exemplified the theme of Sobreviviente, or “survivor.”
Artists joining Travy Joe were:
- Manny Montes, a major Christian rap and reggaeton artist out of Puerto Rico
- Tercer Cielo, a contemporary Christian Latin pop duo
- singer Gabriel Rodriguez
- singer Jay Kalyl
- hip hop artist and rapper Musiko.
The production was phenomenal, Gonzalez said. But more importantly, the music was doctrinally sound and presented an explanation of the Gospel that brought many to faith in Christ.
Gonzalez delivered a Gospel presentation and prayed with 15 attendees who were among those who came forward. They included a young man who said he was consumed by drugs and a mother asking for prayer for her daughter caught in a cycle of bad choices.
“We can think out of the box and be creative [in reaching young people] Gonzalez said. He credited Cross City Church pastor John Meador with supporting the event. “When I brought the idea up to him, he said go for it.”
One of the intents behind the Night of Worship was to introduce young Hispanics to the church and encourage them to attend Easter services this upcoming weekend, Gonzalez said. Those gatherings Saturday and Sunday will include an orchestra made up of community members. Among them will be Gonzalez’s wife, a cellist. A follow-up event on April 11 will coincide with Cross City Español’s ninth anniversary.
“This was our first big night of worship and of a high quality,” he said. “We wanted to help bring people back to church out of the pandemic.”
This article was written by Scott Barkley, national correspondent for Baptist Press. It was originally published at baptistpress.com.