We’re Here, We’re Ready, We’re Waiting: Mobilizing the Latin American Church

Guatemala city at night.
God is raising up missionaries from all over the globe, especially in Latin America.

Julieta Murillo sees change on the horizon, and she’s not alone. As a TEAM board member and the Director of SIM Latin America, Julieta is a witness to the amazing work God is doing in her home country of Ecuador and other Latin American nations.  

“In the last decade, [global missions] is a topic that has been taught in Latin America,” Julieta explains. “There is a genuine interest to know more. We are ready to be connected to the world and to know how we can participate as global missionaries. This is something that is recent in most of Latin America.” 

The movement Julieta speaks of is an example of the globalization of missions. A time is coming when the U.S. and Canada will no longer be the primary sending countries for global workers. Instead, God is raising up workers from all over the globe, sending them to reach other nations in fulfilling His Great Commission. 

“This is something that God is doing.”

TEAM’s Justin Burkholder, Regional Executive Director of the Americas, explains TEAM’s heart and posture to respond to this shift. “This isn’t something that we are inventing but rather, this is something that God is doing. And because we’re engaging in these different places, we’re asking ourselves, how do we need to respond to these things that the Holy Spirit is already doing? How do we need to be obedient to God in this era of global missions that is seeing this kind of sending from all these places? There are now multiple centers of sending and receiving all around the world. How do we as TEAM need to engage in what God is doing?” 

This “polycentric sending” model is on the rise, and on the crest of that wave is the Latin American church. David Puerto is TEAM’s Mobilization Leader for Latin America as well as serving on the pastoral team for Iglesia Reforma, a church in Guatemala City, Guatemala. David says that the seeds of the Gospel sown over many years are now bearing fruit in the form of churches and believers ready to answer the call to global missions. 

“Latin America has mature leadership that is learning to work with people from other cultures and evangelical backgrounds. [The Church] is in this stage of leadership that needs to work with global leaders in this global task. TEAM has a lot of history here in Latin America. Now there’s a good opportunity to partner with Latin American churches in sending workers.” 

Worth the Challenge

As TEAM embarks on the globalization of missions, we recognize that this evolving model is not without challenges. For North American churches and sending organizations, globalization means being willing to ask questions that haven’t been asked before and looking at long-held structures and processes that may need to be adapted for a diversified missionary workforce. 

Group meeting to discuss training.

The “face” of global missions is changing to better reflect the diversity of the body of Christ, and TEAM is excited to be a part of it.


“The people in the room won’t come from the same cultural or linguistic background. What they hold in common is Christ and His Gospel and the mission that we’ve been called to,” says Justin. “But it changes the dynamic of our conversations. It changes the kind of questions that we ask. It really nuances and diversifies our community in such a way that we better represent what God’s people look like around the world.” 

This diversification will take hard work and perseverance. “There are a lot of ways in which this begins to challenge some of our structure, systems, culture, and practices,” says Justin. “The truth of the matter is that it’s going to be hard. But when we see the image of what God’s people can look like, it’s worth the struggle and it’s worth the challenge.” 

Role of North American Churches

So what can believers and churches in North America do to assist in these worldwide sending initiatives? Do we still have a role to play?  

Justin says the answer is a resounding YES, but we may need to re-evaluate our mindset. “One of the challenges that we often have as North Americans is that we can believe ourselves to be God’s primary protagonist in His mission. And the truth of the matter is that God is working tremendously and enormously and has been through many other nations and His people in those places.” 

Justin continues, “The task that we have as the North American church is assimilating the fact that we are a partner and a participant in this, but not necessarily the pioneer. We’re still part of the global Church and we are partners in what God is doing through many other people.” 

As globalization efforts in Latin America and other regions gain momentum, there is also a tremendous call on the Body of Christ to pray.  

    • Pray for wisdom for Latin American churches and sending organizations as they establish structures and procedures for training and deploying cross-cultural workers. 
    • Pray for God to raise up strong and faithful workers among Latin American believers. 
    • Pray for God’s financial provision for these efforts and for the Latin American church to recognize the need to support global missions. 
    • Pray for Latin American pastors to prioritize global sending as a part of God’s command in the Great Commission. 
    • Pray for the TEAM community to exemplify a posture of humility and willingness to learn as we navigate these new waters. 

Hopeful Expectation

Embarking on this new horizon brings hopeful expectation throughout TEAM. “It’s exciting,” says TEAM Advancement Officer, Doug Batchelder. “We’re in the wonderful situation whereby the world is getting larger in population, but it’s getting smaller in terms of our proximity to others who are not like us. We have many opportunities to bring the Gospel to people who haven’t heard it before.” 

Perhaps Julieta says it best when she speaks on behalf of Latin American churches and believers who are poised to answer God’s call. “We’re here, we’re ready, and we’re waiting to be invited.”

“We’re here, we’re ready, and we’re waiting to be invited.”



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About the author

Suzanne Pearson

Suzanne has been a writer and storyteller for as long as she can remember. Before joining TEAM as Communications Manager, Suzanne worked for 17 years in marketing and communications in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Besides writing, Suzanne’s other passions include travel, sports and serving alongside her husband in youth ministry.

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