On June 28–30, twenty-seven emerging leaders came together for GCI Ignite Latin America. The event was celebrated just outside Bogota, Colombia. This was the first time Latin America has had an event of this nature. Young leaders from Mexico, Honduras, Peru, and Colombia were present. The event was coordinated by Andres Felipe Barrero (associate pastor in Bogota), and the workshops were presented by Heber Ticas (superintendent of Latin America), Natanael Cruz (Pastor in Mexico City), and Alejandro and Lilliana Acevedo (youth leaders in Bogota)
The presentations revolved around the theme “Responding to God’s Calling.” The idea was to invite young presenters who were already in pastoral ministry, so they could guide their peers. Attendees were young leaders, already involved in ministry within their local congregations, all between the ages 18 and 32.
The themes discussed throughout the weekend were designed to have a flow and progression. Topics included:
- Our identity in Christ
- Emotional healing and Christlikeness
- The life of Christ (service)
- Identifying our calling
- The joy in our calling
- A sent people
- Christian leadership (fan the flame)
The purpose of the weekend was to create a space where these young leaders could come together for shared learning, intentional development, and an opportunity to be invited to greater participation in Jesus’ ministry through GCI. Memorable highlights of the event included the pastoral interviews that were held. Andres Felipe served as moderator and the young leaders had an opportunity to ask Pastors Heber Ticas, Natanael Cruz and Hector and Paulina Barrero about the ups and downs of pastoral ministry. The thorough and provoking questions allowed for a time of reflection and growth. Another notable moment was the closing workshop when the participants were invited to commit to fanning the flame of their calling and to seek the Spirit for guidance. It was a joyous moment to see young men and women commit to a journey of Christian leadership. The pastors who were present prayed over and anointed them.
The move of the Spirit was evident, and the participants departed with a sense of calling and a renewed spirit to continue the journey of growth in Christian leadership. The challenge now is to provide ongoing developmental support for those who wish to continue with the joyful adventure of Christian ministry. We pray that the Lord will bring clarity, discernment, and resources to develop the new generation of pastors and leaders in Latin America.