Commentary: Reaching out to a new generation of young Latina leaders

  |  Source: Faith & Leadership

Kirby Minnick, a communications major at Dallas Baptist University and social media influencer, was keynote speaker at the two-day SHINE conference at Crossroads Baptist Church in San Antonio, sponsored by Union Femenil Misionera de Texas. (Photo / Isa Torres)

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It started with an observation.

Brenda Rincones noticed that young women didn’t seem to be showing up for centennial celebrations in honor of the Woman’s Missionary Union of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas.

When she remarked on this to her director, the response was, “You know what? Let’s do something very intentional next year to reach out to them. I want you to do it.”

With this mandate, Rincones founded the SHINE Girls Conference, a two-day, statewide gathering of 450 Latina girls and women in San Antonio, Texas.

The conference—its name is not an acronym but refers to Matthew 5:16—aims to educate, empower and inspire young Christian women across Texas (you don’t have to be Baptist or Latina to attend).

The speakers and workshops are led by young women, and the topics are determined by asking young women what they want to talk about. Some are quite serious: suicide, bullying, teen pregnancy and drugs.

Since the second annual conference in February, some participants have been setting up local Bible study groups to continue the work of the SHINE conference.

“We have to reach out to this generation, because they are so, so amazing. It’s just such a beautiful, talented and gutsy group of people, and they define us, especially here in Texas,” Rincones said.

Rincones spoke with Faith & Leadership about the SHINE conference and her hopes for the future of the project. The following is an edited transcript.

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Q: What was the motivation for organizing this conference?

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