By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
CAMBRIDGE, Md.—Jose Nater planted three churches on the Eastern shore, one in Cambridge, one in Easton and another in Delaware. He’s energetic and excited. People are making decisions to follow Christ and be baptized. The churches are doing outreach and even mission work. But Nater needs help. He’s bi-vocational, has a family, and is preaching at all three churches at different times.
Meanwhile, Hispanic church planting is growing by leaps and bounds. As planters start churches, pastors and leaders are needed to staff the new plants.
BCM/D’s Hispanic ministry training center is filling that need.
This past year, 45 students attended one of the three centers –in Baltimore, Silver Spring and Cambridge. They study topics such as the foundations of ministry, and surveys of the Old and New Testaments.
Nater is benefitting from the Center through the leadership it provides and will provide for his churches. He’s also a student and is thrilled with the learning opportunities. He’s taking Theology, History of Christianity and other similar classes. Nater said the classes, taught in Spanish, will help develop leaders and make those on the field more productive.
“Right now, we have the classes every Saturday [evening], because of most the students—they work. That’s the perfect time for them to come and join these classes. I really think this is an amazing tool,” Nater said.
Carlos Moran has been a student at Silver Spring’s training center for several years, taking a variety of courses, such as Expository Preaching, Old and New Testament, and other doctrinal courses. He says the classes have made a difference for him personally.
“It’s made a difference in the way I approach scripture, and my trying to develop a vision for what I want to do in the ministry. Overall, it is just
helping me look at maybe what the Lord wants for me. So I think it’s been personal growth more than anything, and it’s been a blessing. Really, I didn’t expect [that] from the beginning, but it has been great.”
Students can choose from three certificates: biblical ministry, church planting, or pastoral ministry. If students complete all three certificates, along with three other required courses, they receive a diploma in theology.
Classes are offered in eight-week modules.
“We want our church planting pastor to keep planting, and we want good leaders to become pastors of those plants,” Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware Hispanic Church Development Missionary Rolando Castro said.
For more information about the ministry training center, or language church planting, contact Castro at [email protected].