A group of experienced senior Evangelical leaders across Latin America have held Zoom meetings in the past two months, to discuss ways to encourage younger Latin leaders, while also honouring those who came before them.
As a result of those meetings, they wrote a letter and sent it to younger Latin American church leaders from Canada to southern Argentina, Chile and Brazil, “to express what we feel for you because we are older and have had many years of experience in Christian work, also because we want to be of benefit to the present and next generation of servant leaders”.
“This letter has no theological, ecclesiological, prophetic, missiological, or institutional purpose […] we write you in a time of history that will be remembered as a world-wide milestone. These have reminded us that the church is much more than the temple, and challenge us to look for new ways to communicate the message of the Word of God”, they add.
“Honour those who came before us”
They “honour those who came before us, the churches that sent them. They risked their health and their lives in the ministry [..] each nation and denomination has their heroes of the faith that we do well to remember, and we must teach new generations about the feats of their lives as testimonies that each believer can learn from”.
Furthermore, “we beg you to include, with respect and trust, all the brothers and sisters in the faith form the different backgrounds and origins”.
Acknowledging limitations and past mistakes
The authors of the letter also acknowledge the limitations and shortcomings of their generation as pastors and leaders, and “ask the generations who follow for forgiveness for the things we did not do an what we did wrong”.
Among those errors they mentioned that “we now see that in some cases, we allowed ourselves to be openly carried away by political positions. Today we realise the Church has to maintain a position above temporal politics, preaching the Bible values”.
The importance of the Bible “to stand firm”
They emphasize the importance of the Bible, because “the Church in Latin America was founded on the bases of Bible distribution. We ask you not to forget that the churches and institutions you inherit were created thanks to the gospel and evangelization”.
“You are now guiding the Church in a time of strong ideological opposition, growing inequality, overwhelming corruption and idolatry of the profane. It is not time to be indecisive, or allow fear to overcome you”, signatories warn young leaders.
The authors of the letter advise leaders to stand firm, and “not allow cultural changes to turn you away from the Gospel, develop a discipleship culture, following the teachings of the Lord”.
Strengthening churches and pastors in the midst of the pandemic
“Learn from the past generations and avoid making the same mistakes. Stand firm in the cardinal truths of the Christian, biblical faith. Love God more. Preach and practice the gospel, which is the Good News of salvation for all”, they conclude.
According to the creators of the letter, “leaders across the evangelical spectrum have enthusiastically received it, fostering ongoing discussions on how to strengthen pastors and churches in this time of an international pandemic that has seriously challenged the ways local churches function”.
You can read the full letter here.