Passion and Vision for LaVoz

Our Journey

Angela and I became Christians 15 years ago. From the start of our new lives in Christ, we’ve had a heart to see the gospel go to multi-ethnic, low-income, neighborhoods and communities, like the one we grew up in. 5 years ago as we asked God how we could root our lives and a local church in that context He opened a door for me to get trained as a church planter.

This website originally started as a blog in 2015 to track my journey through that church planting residency. Many reading this post have loved and supported my family since our residency days. At the time, our plan was to get trained to start a church in a minority context in the inner-city of San Antonio, TX. Similar to Moses’ story, we hoped God would take us from our people for a season in order to send us back to help bring spiritual freedom to our ethnic kin. As God would have it, our church planting dream has not become a reality.

Our Experience

My family has spent the last 5 years serving with the church where I completed my residency. While serving faithfully in a majority white context, we have continuously sought to invest in our African American and Latino neighborhood. We love our church and faith family. But, if I’m being honest, there have been, and still are, times we’ve struggled with feeling like we are losing our roots to the people and place we come from. Part of the reason for this sense of loss is the lack of representation minorities experience in evangelical churches.

For unbelieving Latinos and other minorities, entering our churches and Christian communities is often overwhelming. In large part, this is caused by the all too familiar realization that these spaces were not created with them in mind. For many Latino believers we are implicitly taught that entering a Christian space means we must leave our cultural and ethnic identities at the doorstep.

Our Vision to Be Part of the Solution

Our heart is to play a small role in changing this narrative. Through La Voz Del Corazon (the voice of the heart) we want to focus on:

  • Highlighting and discussing the contributions of Latino theologians and other theologians of color.
  • Bring to light the often overlooked history of Latinos in Christianity and American society.
  • Share the experiences and give a voice to Latinos and other minorities that feel unseen and unheard within the church.
  • Create resources and advocate for the empowerment of Latinos and other minority groups within the leadership structures of our churches and society.

In all transparency, we are bringing to light the theological contributions, history, and experiences of Latinos and other minority groups for the purpose of seeking unity, racial justice, and biblical flourishing within our churches and society. So often within Christianity we focus our relational engagement on the Great Commission, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:19 CSB) What is often forgotten in accomplishing the commission is Jesus’ Great Commandment,”Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:37-39 CSB) How can we love a neighbor we don’t know? How do you get to know someone you have little to no proximity to?

For our Latino and minority brothers and sisters we hope the content we produce is life-giving, shows our theological contributions to Christian thought, and provides a space where you feel seen and understood. Our hope is to make tangible the words of theologian and church historian Justo González, “Being reborn in Christ certainly transforms us from within, but it does not destroy us. We do not cease being Black, Chicano, Cuban-exile, or Puerto Rican, nor do we cease liking tamales or pastelitos, cumbiasor or polkitas, nor do we forget our history or the road we have traveled, or give up the treasures of our heritage.” (Mañana Christian Theology from a Hispanic Perspective, pg. 17)

For our white brothers and sisters we hope this site creates empathy, allows you to walk a few steps in someone else’s shoes, and moves you toward relationship and the pursuit of racial justice. Ultimately, our hope is that you will see that American Evangelicalism does not encompass all of Christianity.

Finally, we hope our friends and loved ones that have followed us these last 5 years will continue to journey with us. We love you, are so appreciative of your continued support, and still regularly remember you in our prayers.

The Harts