When you navigate to the First Baptist Huntersville website, one of the first images you see on the home page is a large, blue button for “Ministerio Latino.” When you click it, the page is written entirely in Spanish.
In 2000, First Baptist Huntersville launched Latino Ministerio, with a Spanish-speaking worship service and an English as a second language class.
Today, the ministry thrives under the leadership of Brazilian-born Rev. Christopher Harbin.
The congregation is a melting pot of Spanish speakers from many places: Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Honduras, Argentina and Cuba.
The traditions and even the Spanish vary from country to country, but the 60 or so people blend into one worship service that is warm and intimate. Worshippers hold hands during the prayer time and have a chance to share their words of testimony. They also celebrate birthdays during the service, singing a birthday hymn, praying for the birthday person and letting him or her say something.
“Most don’t live near family,” Harbin said, “so we become family for each other.”
Several other Lake Norman churches have Latino ministries:
• St. Mark Catholic in Huntersville offers a bilingual Mass each week, attended by about 200.;
• St. Therese Catholic in Mooresville offers an all-Spanish Mass, attended weekly by about 150, as well as ESL classes;
• Since 2004, The Cove in Mooresville has offered Spanish translation via headsets during Sunday services at all of its campuses; and
• Calvary Chapel in Huntersville began a Spanish service in May.