Albert Reyes is one of the most gifted, insightful, courageous leaders I have ever known. His life story reads like a chapter from the Book of Acts. And his global impact is changing millions of lives today.
I first met Dr. Reyes when he was president of Baptist University of the Americas in San Antonio, Texas, the only school of its kind in our state. Under his leadership, the school’s operating budget increased from $700,000 to more than $3.2 million. He pastored three churches and served as president of the Texas Baptist Convention, with 2.2 million members. Albert is now President and CEO of Buckner International, a global ministry to children, senior adults, and families in need. But these facts do not tell the whole story.
His paternal grandparents were migrant workers in the cotton fields of West Texas. There a missionary named Edward P. Gonzalez held evangelistic services, leading his grandparents to Christ. The family eventually settled in Corpus Christi, where Albert was born. They moved to Rialto in southern California, where Albert came to faith. After they returned to Corpus Christi, Albert answered God’s call to vocational ministry at the age of 15.
He went on to earn two doctoral degrees, the first in missiology and the second in global leadership. He has lectured on transformational leadership at universities around the world, including Harvard and the Pontifical Catholic University in Lima, Peru. Under his leadership, Buckner has grown to serve more than 450,000 people each year in the U.S. and around the world.
His latest book, The Jesus Agenda: Becoming an Agent of Redemption, unpacks practical, biblical leadership lessons from his remarkable life experiences and global leadership engagement. Dr. Reyes notes that redemption is the story of Scripture, as God redeems us from darkness into his Kingdom by the forgiveness of our sins. Abraham, Joseph, Moses and Ruth are Old Testament testimonies to God’s redemptive power. Zacchaeus, the Samaritan woman, and the Philippian jailer constitute similar examples in the New Testament. Dr. Reyes tells each of their stories so vibrantly that they come to life in our context and culture.
Next, he challenges us to be “agents of redemption,” people of “courage, compassion, and conviction on mission with Jesus to turn what was intended for harm into good.” Scripture teaches, “So now, faith, hope, and love abide” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Faith is conviction; hope is courage; and love is compassion. All three are essential to life transformation. Christians are called to embrace each and to offer them to our hurting world.
The Jesus Agenda is illustrated throughout with remarkable stories of lives redeemed by the gospel. Children, women, men, and families without hope find hope in Christ and his church. People abandoned by everyone by God find new life through faith. By themselves, these amazing stories are worth reading the book. Added to the in-depth theological and leadership insights they illustrate, they make The Jesus Agenda both profound and powerful.
Dr. Reyes wrote his insightful book to call for a global movement of Christians acting as true agents of redemption. With our time, talent, and treasure, we can impact hurting families around the world. His invitation:
Changed people still change the world.