Juan Quintanilla becomes associate director of New Church Development
Dr. Juan Quintanilla is the new Associate Director for Hispanic Church Development and Multicultural Church Development. Quintanilla, currently an associate pastor and minister to the Hispanic community at Mt. Pisgah UMC in Alpharetta, will take over the position vacated by Rev. Nora Martinez, who is now Assistant General Secretary with the Board of Global Ministries.
“We are delighted to have Juan on the staff of New Church Development,” said Tommy Willingham, the office’s Executive Director. “He brings years of pastoral experience with him, and experiences as a seminary professor at John Wesley Seminary in Mexico. His humble spirit and passionate desire to see people come to know Christ will serve well in his new position.”
Juan, the oldest of five children born in a Catholic home, seldom went to church. One of Juan’s sisters was playing on the street when she was a child, and she found some old books near a dumpster and brought them home. Among them was the Bible, which was in such bad shape their mother had to patch it back together. “At the time, I did not know what a privilege it was that, for the first time in my life, we had a Bible at home,” said Juan. “But, it went on my book shelf, and I became engrossed in many other books while the Bible sat quietly and gathered dust.”
At the age of 18 while studying for his final exams at college, Juan took a break and began to read a different book just for curiosity. “That old, dusty Bible," said Juan. As he read Jesus' teaching on Matthew, he felt convicted of sin, repented and felt, for the first time, really cleaned and forgiven. “I felt as a brand new man,” Juan said.
From that moment, he was hungry and thirsty for God. While at college he saw a classmate studying a Bible and asked him where he, too, could go to learn more about this mysterious, yet miraculous book. The classmate led Juan to a local United Methodist Church, Iglesia Metodista la Trindad in town. “Since then, I have been in the Methodist church.”
Juan felt the call to ministry, and a Methodist Missionary from Peru told him about Asbury Seminary. He moved to Kentucky and earned his M.Div. in 1985. He returned to Mexico, married his wife, Laura, and had two children, Daniel and Josh. While in Mexico, Juan served as Pastor in several churches and worked as the Dean of John Wesley Seminary.
In 2001, Juan attended a Seminar at Simpmsonwood Conference and Retreat Center where he ran into an old seminary classmate, Steve Wood, who was serving as chairperson of the Board of Church Development for the conference. From that chance meeting, Juan was eventually offered a chance to serve in the North Georgia Conference working in the rapidly growing Hispanic population in North Georgia. He has planted two Latino mission churches in the North Georgia Conference - one in Woodstock, and another in Johns Creek.
Juan has served as chairperson of the Hispanic Committee in New Church Development since 2007, and now, in his words, “feels both humbled and honored to serve as Associate Director in New Church Development. To God be the glory.”