DALLAS (BP) — Nearly 60 Hispanic pastors and leaders gained discipleship insights and resources during a LifeWay Leadership luncheon June 12 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.
Craig Featherstone, LifeWay Global vice president, welcomed the group and noted LifeWay’s new centers in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Brazil in addition to short-term Bible studies in Spanish.
These developments, he said, were steps toward creating resources to help churches — including Hispanic churches — make disciples and leaders.
“Without disciples the church cannot raise up new leaders,” Featherstone said.
Todd Adkins, director of LifeWay Leadership, spoke on how local churches can develop new leaders.
“God’s chosen vehicle to bring His Kingdom is the local church,” he said. “That’s plan A. There is no plan B.”
Adkins emphasized a model in which leaders develop disciples into leaders by having the disciple observe, then doing and having the disciple help, then vice versa and finally a handoff of responsibility.
Using Moses and Joshua as examples, Adkins illustrated two kinds of leadership legacies pastors can leave behind.
“Moses was intentional about developing Joshua by having Joshua with him everywhere,” so when Moses died, Joshua was able to pick up right were Moses left off. “Moses had a conviction for developing leaders,” Adkins said.
But after Joshua died, Adkins continued, the “following generations did not know God or what he had done for Israel…. Joshua did not have a conviction for developing leaders.
“Often we think of baptism as the finish line but it should really be the starting point,” Adkins said.
Panelists Ramon Medina, pastor of Hispanic ministries at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, and Otto Sanchez, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Ozama in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, answered questions about choosing, training and integrating leaders.
To build a team of trusted leaders, Medina advised finding people “who are different from you and can do things you can’t do.”
Sanchez listed steps the church he leads takes when building a team: prayer, observation, confirmation of character by others close to the candidate, ministry assignment, development and finally integration into the group.
In integrating new leaders into a formed group, Sanchez said the candidate will be observed thoroughly by the leadership team and then brought before the church for approval.
At Champion Forrest, Medina said, “[W]e observe a lot and then we put them through a character development class we’ve created.”
In 10-second advice for a church planter, Medina said “don’t limit yourself, God is great,” and Sanchez followed with “live with integrity and find the support of a godly leader.”
Cris Garrido, director of publishing for LifeWay Español, closed the luncheon with short but pointed comments about the importance of reading “resources that are edifying.”
“We must be diligent in reading because our time management and culture are not conducive to it.”
Some benefits of reading, Garrido added, are “gathering fresh ideas, understanding opposing views, and to know that we are not alone.”