This month ministers and leaders of Latino ministries discuss the challenges of appointing elders — men tasked with the spiritual and financial oversight of the Lord’s body.
Many Hispanic congregations don’t yet have elders. While we salute the hard-working ministers and missionaries who nurture these churches, we urge them to strive for the kind of leadership we see modeled in the New Testament. Repeatedly, ministers stressed the potential dangers of one-man leadership in Hispanic churches.
Miguel Bustillos, a minister in Dallas, echoed the sentiments of many we interviewed. He fears that there is “a lack of sound doctrinal teaching in too many congregations, so that the … qualities spoken of in the New Testament are so legalistically interpreted that they become disqualifiers that eliminate anyone from consideration for the eldership.”
We urge Latino congregations appointing elders prayerfully to consider the examples of godly leaders we see throughout the Bible. Do not ignore or circumvent Scripture’s specific qualifications. Careful interpretation is necessary — at times on a case-by-case basis.
At the same time, please do not interpret these qualifications in such a stringent manner that godly men can never hope to serve. Remember that the elders Paul appointed on his first missionary journey were all fairly new converts — and likely of diverse ethnicities. But they were qualified.