Latino Cultural Intelligence: Consciencia

This post is the second post in a 10-part series called “Latino Cultural Intelligence.” Deepening your understanding of our Latino culture will serve you well as you plant LaFe ministry on campus. Inspiration for this series comes from “The Power of Latino Leadership” by Juana Bordas.

In the Latino community, we deeply value consciencia, what Juana Bordas calls “the connection a leader has with his [or her] inner core.” Maturity is often measured by self-awareness. How can we lead others if we cannot lead ourselves? How can we lead ourselves if we do not know ourselves?

Self-knowledge can present a significant challenge to Latinos, which is one of the reasons we value it so deeply. The challenges of assimilation and oppression threaten to divorce us from our roots and obscure our ability to see the image of God on display in our lives and culture.

This is one of the reasons that ethnic-specific ministry has such strong resonance with many Latino students. For some of them, this is the first time they’ve explored their God-given ethnic heritage. For others, the opportunity to explore “God, faith and the experiences of our people” promises them a chance to pursue their faith without sacrificing their identity. We believe that students’ growing self-awareness will also deepen their awareness of God’s work in and around them.

As you plant your LaFe ministry, ask yourself: “How am I growing in self-awareness? How can this ministry help students connect with their God-given, inner core?”

Here are several resources that can help you grow in your own consciencia and to lead students into deeper and more meaningful self-awareness:


Steve Tamayo serves as the Special Projects Director for LaFe, InterVarsity’s Latino Fellowship. He’s married to Amy and together they have two sons, Will and Jack. Steve is also the Associate Pastor at Chatham Community Church.

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