Testing and implementing a model program to educate lay leaders for the Hispanic religious community

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Tue, 10/01/1996
End Date: 
Thu, 09/30/1999

The Hispanic presence in American churches has grown at a dramatic rate over the past several decades; consequentially, the number of organizations designed to minister to them has also grown. Many of these organizations are relatively new, and require significant aid in developing the leadership skills needed to sustain stable, long-term ministries. To that end, the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry (NCCHM) has developed a leadership training program for laypeople that now needs to be evaluated and implemented. Thirty organizations involved in such ministries as catechesis, the permanent diaconate, family life, youth and young adult ministry, campus ministry, small Christian communities, publishing and other media, and education have contributed to the Hispanic Leadership program. Bishops, priests, women religious, brothers, and laypeople have participated in pilot programs in five different states with large Hispanic populations. Participants in the program will learn: how to examine the theological and pastoral underpinnings of leadership in church and society; how to make structural analyses of institutions that affect Hispanic ministry; and how to develop practical leadership skills. Participants also take part in a practicum, developing and implementing a hands-on, team leadership project. After this program has been tested and approved, a mutifaceted Hispanic leadership development package will be produced, which will be disseminated among church-based organizations. The resulting culturally sensitive curriculum will integrate the best theoretical and practical approaches to education for lay leadership in ministry. The program is both comprehensive and inclusive, addressing the theological underpinnings of leadership and the operational and practical aspects of leadership in the muticultural American milieu. It is expected to be extremely useful to leaders of Hispanic religious organizations.