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English is Crazy

After watching the video I’ve got 3 questions for my fellow youth workers:

  1. According to this 2010 U.S. census report, “More than half of the growth in the total U.S. population between 2000 and 2010 was because of the increase in the Hispanic population. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, rising from 35.3 million in 2000 to 50.5 million in 2010. The rise in the Hispanic population accounted for more than half of the 27.3 million increase in the total U.S. population. By 2010, Hispanics comprised 16 percent of the total U.S. population of 308.7 million.” (source) Question: Is your church/youth ministry seeing an increase in Hispanic families participating in your worship services or program offerings? 
  2. As the video pointed out, learning English as a second (or third) language is very difficult. As is documented in this Department of Labor report, English language proficiency is directly tied to both employment, in general, and wages directly. Question: Is your church/youth ministry engaged in helping English language learners? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the comments about your experience. 
  3. “In 2011, about 22 percent of school-age children spoke a language other than English at home, and 5 percent of school-age children both spoke a language other than English at home and had difficulty speaking English.” (Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 2013) Beyond the educational and labor issues of English-language learners, there’s also the challenge of worshipping Jesus in your native language. Rooted in the Protestant tradition and in the Reformation itself is the idea of accessing the Bible and worshipping in your own language. Wars fought, martyrs celebrated, and denominations were founded on the issue of accessing worship in a native vernacular. Question: What efforts is your ministry taking to minister to the 22% of children/teenagers growing up in homes that natively speak another language? 

As you can see from the questions above, I don’t have answers to these questions. But I think these are truly important questions for our ministries to think about as our culture sees a rapid increase in non-English speakers within our population.

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