Not the Only Crazy One!: Church Coach Jhony Pérez's Life of Servant Leadership


Jhony Pérez Rosales is one of the youngest church coaches at ENLACE but his years of service in the church and devotion to his family have afforded him wisdom beyond his age.

He grew up in a Christian home in El Salvador. His parents have served as pastors in the Church of God for over twenty years. He has seven brothers and two sisters. (Two siblings have died.) His childhood was characterized by going to church, getting a strong education and living in communities that were battered by gangs and poverty. Despite the difficulties, Jhony’s parents led their church to reach out and serve the poor--even providing meals for boys coerced into and trapped in gang life. 

While Jhony's life of service has been meaningful, it has not been easy. He has lived in one of the most violent neighborhoods in El Salvador controlled by gangs where fear and risk are daily companions. For Jhony, even as he attended school or worked at a gas station, the dangers of robbery and assault were and are constantly real.

After a few years of choosing to play fútbol (soccer) instead of going to church as a pre-teen, Jhony became more serious about his pastoral calling and began to serve with his father when he was 12 years old. He worked hard at his theological studies and is just one year shy of receiving his Master’s in Theology. (He hopes to complete his degree when the funds become available.) Over time, however, he came to believe that not only was Bible training necessary, but other tools were needed to be an effective pastor and see real transformation. To that end, he enrolled at the Universidad Tecnológica and has almost completed his degree in Psychology. During that time, he also became interested in ENLACE and its vision of the church in sustainable development.

According to Jhony, “I thought I was the only crazy one. I always wanted our churches to start really caring and working with the churches that had fewer resources. When I came to learn about ENLACE’s mission--this theoretical idea became real. In my church we built a house, helped students to attend university, and bought groceries for needy families. This is what I always liked to do. But with ENLACE this service is made systematic and integral to the church’s mission. I learned about it at the university and now I feel privileged to participate."


Jhony joined the ENLACE staff in 2016. He married his wife, Jaqueline Teresa Méndez de Pérez, in 2014. She is finishing her degree in Education with a specialty in English. They live with her mother and niece.