For many years, Haggai leader Maximiliano (Max) Lopez Acebo has been having water-cooler conversations about Jesus with his colleagues. Often what he has to say goes unheard, but many times he’s been able to see evidence of a seed sown. He’s even led a handful of those people to salvation. That’s enough for Max — enough motivation to know that he will keep pressing forward in Buenos Aires, sharing the Gospel however he can, and working to end Gospel poverty there.
To that end, his work to spread God’s message extends beyond when he clocks in and out at the office. He has also served as a pastor previously for 21 years at Iglesia del Centro and currently for two years at Puente a la Vida. In his role as pastor, he developed small group programs founded on the principles of inviting people into worship, Bible study, and community together to battle the non-Christian culture in their city and raise up a new generation of Christian leaders. That culture is racked with poverty, prostitution, and drugs, but Max’s small groups provide refuge, hope, and Christian friendship. They equip young people to become spiritual leaders and others to pursue leadership roles in the church.
Max’s drive comes from years of working with homeless people in Buenos Aires. He helped provide for their physical needs, fill their spiritual needs, and share Jesus’ story with them. He celebrated with them at Christmas, shared meals with them, and worked to focus on relationships rather than hardships. Today, that same ministry continues, now led by the next generation who were discipled.
A new generation of leaders is happening.
“One of my favorite stories is from 2017, when an immigrant from Venezuela showed up at Iglesia del Centro.” said Max. “No one knew him, but he loved it there so much, and was so impacted by the praises that he kept coming back. He eventually joined a home group and brought his daughter and her husband. They were fed deeply of the Word, and through community, decided to be baptized.”
That man’s experience went beyond meeting with a small group. Max’s group helped this family get their feet on the ground financially and accompanied them in their growth until they went to live in the United States.
“God has worked many miracles with them and through them,” he added. “Today they are a family full of the Lord that blesses many other families.”
Both churches have been able to help several people like this man and his daughter through Max’s small group program. A young couple from the province of Cordoba, Argentina, joined one of the young people’s groups in 2015. They wanted to be pastors but didn’t know how to nurture that call.
“We supported them through seminary and saw them off to the province of San Juan, Argentina, to be pastors of a church there.”
For more than a decade, Max also worked with a Christian political party that led to him becoming the president of the Social Council in the capital of Argentina, a position that gave him a huge advantage in terms of influence. “Because of my experience, I was invited to be part of the teaching team for the fellows training program of the Christian Center for Public Life in Washington, equipping outstanding young leaders in public and political life throughout Latin America.”
Max has also written a book about the leader-servant, Slave of All – The True Spiritual Leadership in Argentina, influencing many Christians in Latin America. It’s been picked up by El Salvador Evangelical University, where it will be published.
Equipping others to be leaders in ending Gospel poverty is a skill Max accredited to his time at the Haggai Leader Experience (HLE). There, he met a pastor from the Middle East who later invited him to preach at a conference there. It was huge — the church packed and more people listening or watching online. He connected with another pastor there, who called him to equip leaders on the outskirts of the city via Skype. His influence for the Kingdom continued to grow.
“The HLE for me was a window to the world and the opportunity to get to know what my brothers around the world are doing to present the Gospel. Haggai is a great tool from God to equip, inspire, and connect leaders with a heart on fire to share about Jesus.”
Today, Max continues to grow his ministry, equipping leaders in a new generation to share the Gospel and disciple those they meet. His original goal to equip 100 leaders has multiplied, and he can’t wait to see what God will do in the days ahead.
Written by Jennifer Colosimo