Hispanic followers of Christ are ready to change the world, declares singer Coalo Zamorano, one of the top contemporary Christian musicians in the Spanish-speaking world.
That’s the message – and the title – of Zamorano’s new music video, “Change the World” (“Cambia el Mundo”), produced in partnership with the International Mission Board (IMB). The video, shot in a part of Southeast Asia mostly untouched by the gospel of Jesus Christ, invites Hispanics to “open your hands, your heart … change the world, change the world today.”
“The next missionary movement is going to come from the Hispanic community,” said Zamorano, 42, an internationally renowned singer, composer, producer and Latin Grammy winner.
Photo by Chris Carter
Coalo Zamorano sings in a village market in Southeast Asia. The popular Latin Grammy Award winner was there to shoot a video based on his single, “Change the World.” He taught the group the chorus of the song so they could sing along with him.
“I think that God is already calling many people in the Hispanic world to bring the gospel. For many years, Latin America received missionaries. I personally was introduced to the Lord through a missionary family from the United States. Now, God has given me the privilege of traveling to many places in the world. Latinos have a very strong call to go. We are welcomed around the world. Our complexion makes us very similar to the people who live in the Middle East or in Asia. We must go, we must be brave and believe in God because He is going to open doors.”
A respected leader in praise and worship music in the Spanish-speaking world, Zamorano grew up in Mexico. He now serves as Hispanic worship leader at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, which is attended by more than 2,000 Spanish-speaking believers. The church regularly sends mission teams around the world – including the region where “Change the World” was shot.
‘Leaving our comfort zone’
Zamorano has worked on more than 50 Christian records, from composing and arranging to producing and singing. “Change the World” is from his latest album, “Confessions of a Thankful Heart” (available on the CanZion label). The record was nominated for a Latin Grammy as Best Christian Album of 2014. The single and video debuted April 30 at “Expolit ‘15” in Miami, the top event for the Spanish-language Christian publishing and music industries.
He adapted “Change the World” with Tommy Sims, his friend and producer, who co-wrote the song in the 1990s. It became a top-10 pop hit in 1996 when it was recorded by singer-guitarist Eric Clapton. Zamorano took a different approach to the song – and the video.
“Basically the song says, ‘What would happen if you had the power to change the world?’” he explained. “I think that part of changing the world involves leaving our bubble, our comfort zone, and going out and making a difference in this world. It’s a long trip [to Southeast Asia], but it made me think more about the work many people are doing around the world. They leave everything, leave their comforts, leave their safety and dedicate their lives to sharing the Gospel with people who would never hear the message of Jesus if they didn’t come.”
One of his favorite parts of the trip: hanging out with village kids and teaching them to sing along.
“We taught them the chorus of ‘Change the World’ and after we recorded the song with them, they continued singing it,” Zamorano said. “Later on we explained what we were singing about. It was very cool.”
According to a Hispanic-background IMB worker based in the region, gospel seeds planted by Hispanic teams are bearing fruit. Two years ago, no one in the area knew about Jesus. Today, many follow Him as Lord.
Zamorano’s video team included Ramon Medina, lead pastor for Hispanic ministry at Champion Forest. Medina was excited to see the impact Hispanic Christians are having in Asia.
“As the Hispanic Christian community continues to grow in the United States and also in Latin America, we now have a very big responsibility to come out of our churches and go to different parts of the world,” Medina said. “There are still so many places where the gospel of Christ has not been taken.”
The ‘Hispanic Millennium’
That is music to the ears of IMB Hispanic mobilizer Jason Carlisle, who also participated in the video trip. Hispanic-background missionaries are increasingly going not only to Latin America, but also to sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Carlisle and the IMB Hispanic Mobilization team are working with 3,500 Hispanic churches to reach the unreached.
“The interesting thing is that God has used all kinds of people: pastors, youth, professionals, singers, whatever,” Carlisle said. “It has been amazing to see the results, to see leaders emerge. The next step is seeing how we can prepare these leaders so they can move forward. Every member of the church needs to understand: ‘I can change the world. I can play a part. The only thing I have to do is find my part in what God is doing.’”
One way IMB is helping Hispanics find their role in missions is the Kairos Project, a pilot program launched last year to mobilize Hispanic Southern Baptists to serve as cross-cultural missionaries.
“Hispanic Baptists are an untapped source for workers for the harvest field,” said IMB personnel consultant Amanda Dimperio. “Many might feel called to go to the nations, but think they do not qualify to be missionaries through IMB because they don’t have a seminary or college degree. Yet Hispanics have a unique opportunity to enter some cultures where mainstream American Baptists might not be welcomed. We want to help their church prepare and send them to share the Gospel with the peoples for whom they feel a burden.”
The goal of Kairos is twofold: determine the best locations and roles for Hispanic missionaries to take advantage of their special gifts; and develop experienced missionaries from the Hispanic community who can, in turn, effectively mobilize fellow Hispanic Southern Baptists. Assignments are expected to be located in Europe, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Latin America.
“God has made us responsible for this time,” Carlisle said. “The new millennium is the Hispanic millennium to change the history of the nations.”
For more information about becoming involved in Hispanic-led mission efforts, go to hispanos.imb.org. Or, learn more about IMB’s Kairos Project here.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Erich Bridges is IMB global correspondent.)