An evangelistic strategy to reach more than 30 million people

By Laura Sámano

The North American Division (NAD) is targeting more than 30 million Latino youth through an evangelistic initiative called “Changed: Real lives in a real world.” This is a yearlong initiative to present the Three Angels’ messages to youth and challenge them to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

NAD leadership is aware of the need to minister to second- and third- generation Latinos and their friends. “Changed” is the approach this division is taking to reach youth who have been spiritually overlooked. “Changed: Real lives in a real world” will challenge Latino youth to learn about Christ, surrender their lives to Him and be transformed into His likeness.

The Need

Traditionally, Latino evangelism has focused on foreign-born Latinos, otherwise known as first- generation immigrants. NAD statistics indicate that first-generation Latinos make up a vast majority of Adventist Latino membership and growth. A 2009 survey by the PEW Hispanic Research Center shows that the majority of Latinos in the United States were born there.*

Adventism is growing slowly among second- and third-generation Latinos. Ricardo Norton, Director of Hispanic Ministries department for the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary says, “Most of our accessions are from the first-generation Latinos, 77.4 percent of baptisms and 71.43 percent of the Latino membership is first-generation Latinos.”

The identity of a second- or third-generation Latino can be summarized in a statement such as, “I was born in Los Angeles, California but my parents are from El Salvador. When people ask me where I’m from I say I’m American because I’ve lived here all my life. My parents speak to me in Spanish sometimes and I understand most of what they say but I prefer speaking English. ”

Because of these generations’ blended linguistic and cultural characteristics, “Changed” is designed to speak second- and third-generation Latinos’ language and present Jesus as one who identifies with their needs, a Jesus who knows not only who they are but also who they can become.

In Matthew 28:18, 19, Christ commissioned us to take the Gospel into the entire world. R. Ernest Castillo, NAD Vice President for Multilingual Ministries says, “Christ called us to ‘teach all nations’ not some of them, all of them. Second- and third- generation Latinos are not excluded from this command.”

CHANGED: Real Lives in a Real World

The theme for this evangelistic plan is “Changed: Real lives in a real world.” Revelation 18:4 says we must “come out of Babylon,” that means we must change our lifestyle and be like Christ. In order to do that, God has to create a new heart within us. As the Servant of the Lord says in Steps to Christ page 47, “You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him.”

As part of the yearlong youth initiative, the 2012 Latino Youth NET includes several weekend training events and a live satellite broadcast in Spanish October 13–20 from Orlando, Florida via Esperanza TV and in English November 3–10 via Hope Church Channel. Both channels are available online and

Changed,” like other youth programs, would not be complete without great music. The contemporary Christian group “Evidence” from Dallas, Texas, and Joann Cortés will lead praise and worship.

The broadcasts will air testimonies of young people who have been changed by Christ and as a result of it are positively impacting the community where they live.

The speakers for “Changed” are people who, in their love for God and youth, have devoted their lives to ministering to young people. Their personal testimonies and experiences will challenge youth to learn about the need for change, what happens when people are changed and help others to be changed.

Division leadership recognizes that in order for “Changed” to be a success, local church members’ participation is a must and it is providing churches with resources that will facilitate their participation in this initiative.

Prior to the series, youth will have the opportunity to participate in training seminars that will encourage young people conduct evangelism in their community. “We are challenging them to be changed and we want to equip them so they know how to accomplish the goal,” said Manny Cruz, associate director of the NAD’s Youth Department.

Resources for “Changed” include books, a small group study guide, t-shirts, videos, a free smart phone application and kits so churches and small groups can use them to promote, prepare and participate in this revolutionary initiative. The kits include promotional video clips, graphics, church bulletin inserts, a promotional poster and a guide on how to use the material. The kits are designed so groups of different sizes can adapt them to their needs. These resources are available through Advent Source’s website or by calling 800-328-0525. 

Because of human nature every Christian faces frustration with his or her walk with Christ; all Christians are challenged to continue their journey with their Redeemer. Although “Changed” is a yearlong initiative of the NAD, it will be the beginning of a lifelong journey with Christ for some people and a renewed commitment for others. The change that the Holy Spirit wants to carry out in everyone’s lives is a character-building lifetime undertaking.

* Pew Hispanic Center “Statistical Portrait of Hispanics in the United States, 2009” Table 5

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