Ministry Specialization Programs: Furthering LAC’s Values and Initiatives

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Specialization-Programs

 

by Miguel Morales

Latin America Caribbean (LAC) is home for over half of the more than 2,000 Assemblies of God Bible Schools and Seminaries worldwide. This is a reflection and a direct result of the emphasis placed on ministerial training in the region. Pioneer missionaries recognized the priority of training, and it continues to be a priority today.

Under the leadership of Regional Director Melvin Hodges, the AG Christian Education Service for Latin America (SEC) was established in 1960 to help coordinate and unify training efforts throughout the region. The commission produced an initial report of their study and presented recommendations. Subsequently, the first edition of the Ministerial Training Core Curriculum (Plan Básico) was published in 1970. The Plan continues to adapt, expand and meet the needs in the region.

 

Adding ministry specializations

Missionary and SEC Coordinator Rodney Boyd recalls, “More than 10 years ago we began the process of identifying and developing ministry training minors or specializations.  More than 50 missionaries, national leaders and teachers were part of the process!  It took three years to work through the Bible school teaching plan to refine, rewrite and reorganize the courses that were included in the specialization level.”

The first three specializations – Pastoral Ministries, Youth Ministries and Missions – were approved in 2009.  Three additional specializations – Christian Education, Children’s Ministries and Church Planting – were added in 2012.  Just three months ago, the University Ministries specialization was approved.  Each specialization was the result of hard work by a committee of national and missionary specialists in these areas, often based upon prototype projects in different countries.

 

LAC values and initiatives

LAC has three core values. These values support the vision, shape the culture and reflect what is important for effective ministry in the region. They form the foundation on which we serve and conduct ourselves as missionaries. In response to these values, initiatives have been identified as significant ministries that everyone can play a part in. They pinpoint areas of need and define what is important in the region. Every missionary can contribute to one or more of these ministries.

LAC’s core values are lead, advance and collaborate. Its seven initiatives are:

 

  • Children
  • Compassion
  • University students
  • Unreached people groups
  • Training
  • Church planting
  • Missions mobilization

 

The emerging national church

Strong ministerial training is an extremely important aspect of the emergent national church in LAC. The church continues to grow at an incredible rate. Our Bible Schools and Seminaries are raising up a new generation of ministers, church planters, pastors, evangelists and missionaries. The addition of ministry specializations have resulted in a greater need for integration between those that train and those that minister in these areas.

As a result, the missionary today plays a key role in both reaching out to new ministers that are being trained and reaching out to national leaders. Ministry specializations in the Bible School are a very natural way for you to become involved in a very practical way to mobilize both training and ministry. Teaching a course that aligns with your experience, expertise and passion is a great way to contribute furthering LAC’s values and initiatives in a new generation of national workers. Taking initiative in starting a ministry specialization program can lead to greater impact. Involving Bible School students in practical ministry can enrich their training experience.

LAC Regional Director David Ellis shares this on the benefit of missionary involvement in training: “As we look forward to training in the future, we are excited to be able to offer specialization tracks of Plan Básico. When serving on the field our focus was church planting and university ministry, but some of our fondest memories and valued relationships were formed at the Bible School where I taught.  If training is going to continue to be the mandated task it has always been, then it is essential that we find time to be involved in this area of ministry to the extent that we are able.”

 

5 Replies to “Ministry Specialization Programs: Furthering LAC’s Values and Initiatives”

  1. Good article Miguel. I am just finishing up my doctoral project for AGTS (Enhancing A Missional Awareness Of Childhood Spirituality Among Students At The Assemblies Of God Bible School In Córdoba, Argentina). The project will contribute to the design of a future practicum that can be offered at our Bible schools to help introduce the research findings of the Child Theology Movement to those students who want to prepare for children’s evangelism as a church-planting strategy. This kind of specialized ministry to students has characterized my contribution to the National church. The resulting success of the post-graduate ministry of the students has been a blessing both to me and the Kingdom of God.

  2. It is wonderful to see such dedication of those who are training and teaching in the Bible schools of LA. You are wonderful role models for us. We are so excited to add a special Bible school for the Deaf in LA. Things are coming along with the organization. Have made many contacts in the Northern region of LA and some good potencial for students. Please continue to pray for us as the last details come together. We are trusting God to start after Easter 2016. We are so thankful to YOU and also God for helping us in this project. It is going to change the Deaf World in LA!! God bless!

  3. Good morning from CST. Thanks for reminding today’s leaders of our history, the impact of education in the region, and the practical evidence of intentional dedication. This has resulted in developing ministries that impact every aspect of the kingdom of God. Blessings

  4. Miguel, you nailed it! I can’t think of a time in my years as a missionary that ministerial training has been more relevant what God is doing on our continent. Often, we think of institutions, like Bible school, as lagging behind. The ministry specializations are cutting edge and line up exactly with the initiatives that we (AGWM) as a region have identified as urgent. Thanks for encouraging all missionaries to “get with the program!”

  5. Thanks, Miguel, for this great article. We have founded a Bible school here in Antigua, among a Dominican subpopulation, and are not yet ready for this level of specialization (as outlined in your article, in other places of LAC) but I am grateful to be informed on what is going on elsewhere in terms of activity and vision, and “si Dios quiere” one day we may be in such a position here.

    I especially liked the historical background – thanks so much.

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