The Right Leader
By Ramón Ruiz Garza
In denominational terms, we have seen significant church growth in the central and southern parts of the Americas. Our international Church organization has undoubtedly contributed to this development. We have zone representatives leading in several countries that are linked geographically and often share language, traditions, and histories. This has allowed some prosperity in the mission field. Today we can say that we have churches in virtually every Latin American nation, except a few in the Caribbean.
Countries located here are mostly considered third world. This means greater willingness of people to hear the Word of God, unlike first-world nations where attention is more focused on technological and scientific fields than on the religious or spiritual. However, we note that first-world peoples too are searching for God, due to the dissatisfaction that materialism leaves in human hearts.
Given this scenario, our church’s leaders are challenged to respond to the command of the Lord Jesus Christ to “Go and make disciples of all nations . . .” (Matthew 28:19b). We must consider the price to be paid in heeding the Lord’s command.
What kind of leadership is relevant to our time and reality in mission fields? This is a delicate and difficult question, but we can recognize key aspects in the light of God’s immutable Word.
First, recover the willingness to sacrifice. In a world that sees mostly pleasure as the goal of life, we need leaders willing to give their time, resources, bodies, and skills for missions work. Only then can we penetrate this world that we are called to serve in Christ’s name: “Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore” (Hebrews 13:13). The expression “outside the camp” means leaving the comfort of our locations and going to where human suffering is amassed, as did the Master. That’s a different model of life.
Second, preach only the Word of God. This seems obvious, but it is not. Today we find many teachers and evangelists who preach only what pleases others, what people want to hear, with no denouncement of sin. They subordinate the true gospel and manufacture a new one to suit the listener. The gospel becomes the modus vivendi by those who pretend to be Christians. It is a type of religious mimicry — the ability of certain living things to resemble other organisms. All mission leaders and workers must be imbued with the Word of God, because only this Word can transform the hearts of people. “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs,” Jesus said (Matthew 10:27). No one who has neglected intimacy with Jesus can preach God’s Word.
Third, be sensitive to human need. For this we should review our concept of humanity, because our anthropological vision determines our missionary work. If we view human beings as despicable sinners, then our work will be that of judgment — quick condemnation. But if we see humans as Christ did — suffering ones in need of help — then our missions harvest can be plentiful: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
Let us ask the Lord to send faithful, diligent laborers to the harvest field.