When TIME magazine released its annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people, many evangelicals may have been surprised to find Rev. Wilfredo De Jesus on the list. While De Jesus, who goes by “Pastor Choco,” may not have mainstream evangelical name recognition, he is a beloved leader in the exploding Hispanic Christian community.
As the senior pastor of Chicago’s 5,000-member New Life Covenant Church and vice president of social justice for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, De Jesus has become a face for a boom of Hispanics in the U.S. who have turned to Christ.
In a public statement, De Jesus said: “It’s a great privilege to be a voice not only for the Latino Christian community, but also for the poor and voiceless in our society. The Hispanic community in the U.S. is over 51 million strong. We’re people God has chosen to govern and to lead communities and cities with conviction, unapologetically … I am truly humbled by this recognition.”
For his part, Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church called De Jesus, “the true definition of what Christ said the Church should be.”