Perfect Time for Hispanic Leadership Development

Over the past years, thousands of immigrants have come to the United States from many countries and in many different ways. Others have lived here for years without being noticed. This change in our population composition has made city officials, churches, schools, and organizations rethink how to better serve their communities. This is a challenge to Christian organizations to evaluate what they are doing and how they can best impact others for Christ. It brings Matthew 9:37 into focus: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.” Our greatest challenge as a society is the lack of leaders; the lack of people being ready and desiring to help others. How do we find new leaders? Leaders are not found: they are encountered, equipped, and empowered.

Some of these leaders are immigrants you have not met yet. Some are already in your church. This is the time to develop new leaders to serve the Hispanic community and the kingdom. Hispanic subgroups include:

  • First generation men & women [Spanish-speaking]: over 20 million foreign-born Hispanics
  • Second generation men & women [English-speaking]: over 40 million US born Hispanics
  • Hispanic Youth [English-speaking]: One-in-four Gen Zers are Hispanic.

Arlynn Ellis, founder of Acts of Hope, a 501c3 nonprofit organization serving the least-served in San Antonio, TX and surrounding communities, has recommendations for encountering, equipping, and empowering new leaders.


I remember the day that someone told me that they saw me as a leader. I first thought: “What did she see in me?” I personally questioned and wondered if it was true. Then that same person invited me to a training session. I enjoyed it so much. I started believing in my abilities and potential as a leader. It made me feel valued that someone cared for me and wanted me to grow professionally. A subtle truth was beginning to emerge from that experience. If someone saw that in me, then I should be able to see it in others. It is my job now to see people’s abilities and recognize them right away. I started a nonprofit organization a few years ago. At first, I had to do everything. Now I am not involved in the day-to-day operations because there are women and men who have taken the role of leadership to continue programming.  One of the questions I often get is: “What if I can’t find leaders?” Offer a training opportunity and invite people to attend. Sometimes people are just waiting for the opportunity and the invitation.


In the context of a Hispanic community, we can identify our needs and immediately look for ways to meet each concern. For example, too many adults and youth may lack the skills or training they need to get jobs that pay enough to support their families. Approximately one-third of Hispanic children live in families where not even one parent has full-time, year-round employment. This limits their access to health care and other resources critical to their healthy development. At Acts of Hope, we identify a mentor for every adult or youth who is looking for a new job. People helping people, peers helping one another, provides opportunity for leaders to arise. Once a leader has been identified, we provide them with tools, trainings, and brainstorming sessions that will help them to be successful. Opportunities paired with processes will open the flood gates for their natural talents and ideas to come to the surface. I personally believe that you can’t start too early. Of course, leaders can be found at all ages but having a youth leadership program will help your organization develop leaders for years to come.


Leaders want to lead. Once they are trained and equipped, let them take the front seat, putting their training and abilities into action. Be aware that when new leaders start, they will often find new, better, or just different ways of doing things. This has to be okay – it’s part of the empowering process. If it is, know that you have done something special.

As an organization, we can let new leaders:

  • lead activities
  • start pilot programs/ministries
  • co-facilitate classes and/or preach
  • develop new initiatives
  • recruit potential leaders

Together, we can develop new leaders!

¡Nuevos lideres Latinos para una comunidad Latina en crecimiento!

Rev. Arlynn Ellis,