From Leaders to Shepherds | Wycliffe Bible Translators

From Leaders to Shepherds

  • April 22, 2020
Chris with his family
Chris with his family

“Supervisors are more than just leaders. They are shepherds,” Chris Pierson said with excitement. “This is why I do staff development [at Wycliffe]. I want to help care for people’s hearts and souls.”

Chris has served in church and cross-cultural ministry his entire adult life, but it wasn’t until he moved to Arkansas to be near his grandchildren that he learned about Wycliffe.

“I was working for [a large retail chain],” Chris said, “when my daughter sent me a Wycliffe job posting on LinkedIn for someone to do staff development. It was all about teaching, training and developing curriculum. She said, ‘Dad, this is you!’ So then I showed it to my wife who said, ‘Chris, this is you!’”

Chris didn’t waste any time in applying, and he loves his role!

God Speaks Quechua

Chris’ passion is that everyone would have access to the translated Word of God so they might know the love of God and experience it, just like he has.

Chris in Peru with mountains in the background
Chris in Machu Picchu

Last year when Chris was in Peru for a leadership event, he had the opportunity to visit Machu Picchu. While walking out of the park, he ran into a Peruvian guide named Ernesto. Soon they fell into conversation.

“What do you do?” asked Ernesto.

“I work for Wycliffe Bible Translators,” Chris said. “We do lots of Bible translation work around here.”

“Oh, so you are a linguist?” Ernesto asked.

Chris laughed. “Oh no. … I work in HR. But we do lots of work in Quechua languages. In fact, we just finished a Quechua Bible!”

Shocked, Ernesto stopped in his tracks. “Quechua?”

“Yes, Quechua,” Chris said.

“But, that’s my language!” Ernesto exclaimed. “That’s how I speak to my mother and father! That’s my own language. I know English, and I know Spanish. But my heart knows Quechua.”

“Did you know that God speaks Quechua?” Chris asked. Ernesto paused and looked at him, curious.

“Oh yes! We know he speaks Quechua because we know he loves you!”

Training Shepherds

For Chris, God’s love is demonstrated to people by his care for people. Chris’ goal is to emulate that care and compassion by helping team leaders around North, South, and Central America.

“Supervisors are the first level of care and concern [for their teams],” Chris said. Through mentoring and teaching, Chris strives to develop leaders who are able to care for their teams holistically, leading and shepherding them beyond just accomplishing work.

Chris does everything from providing new leaders with immediate training resources to long-term coaching and debriefing. He’s also involved in leading the Four PIllars event which equips leaders around the world using creative, interactive methods.

The most challenging part of Chris’ role is navigating cultural differences and helping his leaders to do the same. “It’s very humbling and I find I ask a lot more questions than I used to. I try to hear where people are coming from,” he said. “[For example] in Peru, the coastal people, the mountain people and the Amazonian people all have very different perspectives and each [group] address[es] God, authority, leadership, expectations and organizations differently.” Chris works to help the different groups relate well together.

Chris continued: “It’s the best job I have ever had. I get to be involved with some of the most committed, remarkable people I’ve ever met … and an organization that is full of biblical wisdom and life and passion. It’s the coolest thing!”

Bible translation leads to transformation. As God’s Word reaches hearts, it changes individuals, families and communities for eternity. Chris sees firsthand as his leaders grow in God’s Word, becoming daily more like the Good Shepherd.

Learn more about how your gifts of caring for people can be used in Bible translation by contacting a missions coach!