January 5, 2011
Leadership Training Makes a Difference!
Roxana is a 13 year old girl living in Antigua, Guatemala. She lives in a very poor neighborhood and has no prospects for advancement.
But Roxana wanted to go to cooking school and through a fortuitous set of circumstances she was given a scholarship. Everything was looking up, but then suddenly she quit. When asked why, she answered that to attend cooking school she had to wear pants. Roxana is part of a very conservative church that does not allow women to wear pants, based on a very narrow understanding of several parts of the Bible. Roxana’s words were literally, “I would rather obey God” (than go to school and be unfaithful by wearing pants).
I like to tell this story because it illustrates the crucial importance of training Christian pastors and leaders in Latin America. Senderis, the Christian mission I direct, puts on training events all over the continent every year. In this area of the world we have a good problem: the church is growing at historic rates, but church leaders are sometimes woefully unprepared to lead that new church. The result is that many teachings and practices have arisen that are inconsistent with the biblical message. Some of them are an almost blind form of traditionalism. Others have merely wrapped magical practices in Christian garb and used this for manipulation. A final group is simply struggling to keep up, practically begging for guidance and training. “How do we do this thing called the church?” They ask.
Roxana’s story ends well. She was in contact with another Christian leader who had a deeper understanding of the Christian life and a better idea of how to read the Bible. After several conversations she returned to cooking school. Her pastor, however, is still out there. Perhaps he will come to Senderis event one day!
Here is a picture of a training conference in Guatemala City last year