Archive for the ‘mexico’ Category

6th Annual Hispanic Preaching Conference Provides Vital Training

April 3, 2008

Submitted by René Maciel, President
This past weekend Baptist University of the Américas was privileged to host the 6th Annual Hispanic Preaching Conference on our campus and at Theo Avenue Baptist Church.  It was a great event for BUA, but more importantly it was a great event for Hispanic pastors from across Texas and Mexico.  We had 262 pastors
and ministers in attendance for this first year at BUA.

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Participants enjoyed  practical seminars with themes such as; sermon preparation, presentation of the sermon, preaching to youth, planning and leading different styles of worship, emotional health in ministry and prayer in the minister’s life. The Saturday session featured an inspiring  keynote sermon by Rev. Gilberto Gutiérrez, pastor of Iglesia Buatista Horeb, Mexico City, and former president of the Convención Nacional Bautista Mexicana.

For the previous 5 years, Truett Seminary at Baylor University has hosted this important gathering which former dean Paul Powell initiated for the training of Hispanic church leaders and pastors. When I came from Truett to BUA, Dr. David Garland gave me his blessing to bring this meeting down to San Antonio and to BUA. I am grateful for his willingness to allow us to host this event. This event is now co-sponsored by Truett Seminary and the Office of Hispanic Ministries at the Baptist General Convention of Texas.  We greatly appreciate their support and commitment to train Hispanic church leaders.  We will continue to host this event each year in March and hope to see the conference grow every year as Hispanic ministers experience BUA as a vital source for ongoing education.

All of which begs the question, who else is training Hispanic evangelical church leaders today to meet the exploding need for churches and ministries to serve diverse Hispanic peoples? Who will train ministers to reach and serve the immigrants? Recent projections suggest that 82% of U.S. population growth from 2005-2050 will be due to immigrants and their descendants, according to a recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center.

Who will reach the 2nd generation Hispanics that straddle two cultures with courage, and sometimes conflict, or the third or the fourth generations who have embraced much of mainstream American culture but for whom their Hispanic culture still looms large?

Not only are there issues of cultural knowledge and awareness at work here, but there are issues of economics and the skyrocketing cost of higher education. The tension will always exist where the more expensive an education one receives, the less inclined that graduate is to give their life in service to humanity, if for no other reason than “how will they pay off their college loans?” So it would seem we need culturally informed education at every economic level to serve every level and generation of Hispanic peoples. BUA provides both, the unique experience of theological education in a Hispanic learning community, and affordability that puts a quality education within reach of everyone.

Demographics alone are declaring that the training of Hispanic church leadership is one of the most important challenges for theological education in our generation. I am convinced that if the declining church in North America does not re-tool itself to welcome and serve the burgeoning Hispanic population, and thus be revitalized by them, it will miss the biggest ministry opportunity of the 21st century.

That’s why Baptist University of the Américas continues striving and advocating for the education of Hispanic ministers at all levels, from traditional diploma level courses that put education in the heart of the churches to accredited university degrees that can take a talented minister to the heights of education. We’ve been on this journey since 1947 and know the whole range of the educational terrain pretty well.  This University is vital to Texas Baptists and to the world, and I am grateful to have that importance pictured perfectly at the recent preaching conference.

We appreciate your support and involvement. See you again next year!

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Chiapas Pastoral Care Training Completes 3-Year Cycle

April 2, 2008

pastoral-care-conference_guadalajara.jpgpastoral-care-conference_guadalajara.jpgIn certain regions of Mexico, mental health resources are often scarce. Consequently, local pastors are in great demand for counseling through complex life crises such as chronic depression, suicide, domestic violence, family breakdown, grief and loss.   For the past twelve years BUA has been involved in a Texas-Mexico Pastoral Care & Counseling Conference along with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Hospital Mexicano Americano in Guadalajara. The partnership has trained an astounding 850 pastors and lay leaders in basic and advanced pastoral care practices and exponentially enhanced the lives of thousands in Mexico who have been served by their churches and community ministries. BUA’s Paul Kraus brings this report from a recent seminar in Chiapas: 

I just returned from Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas Mexico safe, sound, and exhilarated! The Pastoral Care Conference held March 3-7 went very well! Now that we have completed two-3 year teaching cycles in Chiapas, it was hard to say  goodbye after six years teaching courses there. The President of the Chiapas Baptist Convention thanked me and my team for equipping his pastors in their caring ministry to their church members. The 120 hours of courses both in Chiapas and Guadalajara has sparked great interest throughout Mexico.The next extension conference will be held in Tyauna, Mexico beginning February 2009 and will end there in 2011. Both the Guadalajara Conference (July) and Extension Conferences (February/March) are held annually for a 3 year   period of time. Usually the extension conference ends after 3 years and then begins at another location in Mexico.  Thank you BUA friends for taking the time to pray for us. Peace, Paul