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Latino Studies Program at Pentecostal Theological Seminary

Pentecostal Theological Seminary of the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) Establishes Center for Latino Studies.

Responding to the overwhelming growth of the Latino population and the growing rate of the Church of God Latino constituency in the United States, the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, in consultation with the Hispanic Bishops, has strategically created the Center for Latino Studies. This Center will be the Seminary’s servant outreach to the United States and Canadian Latino constituency of the Church of God.

The Center will:

(1) produce data-based investigations which characterize the needs for service and ministry in the United States and Canadian Latino church;
(2) be a training center for Latino pastors and leaders, especially focused on leadership for planting and developing churches;
(3) form and nurture committed Latino leaders, branding them deeply with our Pentecostal identity, faith and passion;
(4) be a leading voice for Latino Pentecostals in the USA and Canada;
(5) be an institution which networks with other significant national theological organizations, partnering where possible in endeavors of mutual interest;
(6) provide a place for deep encounter and mentoring for present and future Latino leaders;
(7) seek relevant grants and awards to further the work of the Center and the Latino Churches of God in United States and Canada.

Director of the Center for Latino Studies is Wilfredo Estrada-Adorno, who is also Professor of Practical Theology and Latino Studies at PTS.

The Figures

According to the 2010 Census, 308.7 million people resided in the United States on April 1, 2010, of which 50.5 million were of Hispanic or Latino origin. This figure represents 16 percent of the total population. The Hispanic population increased from 35.3 million in 2000 when this group made up 13 percent of the total population. Moreover, the Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010, accounting for over half of the 27.3 million increase in the total population of the United States. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, which was four times the growth in the total population at 10 percent. The Census Bureau has projected that the US Hispanic population will be 138.2 million by July 1, 2050, constituting 30% of the population.

The educational and theological perspective informing the Center to prepare ministers to reap and disciple the Latino harvest in the United States and Canada includes the following:

(1) in-depth knowledge of the Wesleyan-Pentecostal faith and practices;
(2) keen awareness of the social-cultural context of Latinos in real situations in contemporary North America;
(3) integration of academics and field ministries in all their varieties and settings (urban, rural, institutions, pastorates, evangelism, chaplaincy, counseling, etc.);
(4) training out of a coherent, comprehensive Wesleyan-Pentecostal theology of ministry which maintains the integrity and relevance of the full gospel of Jesus Christ in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

The Center for Latino Studies will offer the following ministerial programs through the Pentecostal Theological Seminary: (1) Master of Arts in Church Ministries (48 Hr. Degree Program); (2) Master of Arts in Counseling (48 Credit Hours); (3) Master of Divinity (74/80 Hr. Degree Program); (4) Doctor of Ministry (36 Hr. Degree, with an emphasis on a Latino church project) and (5) highly focused Certificate Programs, for credit and/or enrichment, of 12-15 hours each.

The Center is also working on a special project, along with the Association for Hispanic Theological Education (AETH in Spanish) and the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) to prepare students, who finish their theological education at Bible Institutes accredited by AETH, to enroll at institutions accredited by (ATS). We will have further information about this project in the near future.

The Challenge for Latinos

The Center for Latinos Studies is the fifth project the Church of God has organized to train Latinos for ministry in the United States. The first four were dismantled because they were almost totally dependent on the General Church Fund. When the Church had to cut back programs because of limited resources, the ministerial educational programs for Latinos were among those discontinued. As Latinos, we must learn out of these experiences, that if we want a solid theological program to train our ministers, we need to do our part to fund it. This is our challenge now! The Center for Latino Studies at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary is our primary responsibility. Let us work together to build and fund the strongest theological center in the Church of God to train Latino ministers in the United States. !Ahora es el tiempo!

(Source: Pentecostal Theological Seminary)

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