Yesterday in Ecuador, the Pentecostal Theological Seminary launched a doctor of ministry program for 34 students in Latin America. Students from 13 different countries in Latin America have enrolled in four years of classes taught by seminary faculty in Cleveland, Tennessee.
All 34 students will take classes at the same time, and because of their singular focus and likeness of community, the group is specifically identified by the term cohort. Dr. David Han, Vice President of Academics, developed the program after other successful cohorts in the United Kingdom, Nigeria and Puerto Rico.
“What the seminary is doing with this project is bringing to the forefront of theological education a professional program that will very soon revolutionize the practice of ministry in Latin America,” said Dr. Wilfredo Estrada-Adorno, Director of the Center for Latino Studies.
“In this area of the world, the professional degrees are very important. The people that possess professional degrees are the ones that intervene directly on a daily basis with people undergoing distress and illness. Modern society needs professionals well prepared to cope with this present reality. I believe that very soon the government in Latin America will require ministers to have professional degrees in order to serve the people coming to their premises. Today, I feel thankful as a Latino and a member of PTS faculty for the time invested in planning and making this needed program a reality for the Latin American leaders,” Estrada said.
“These are not your average doctoral students,” Han said. “These students are hand-picked to be future leaders in the Latin American Church of God, with its growing membership of 1.5 million people. Many of them are already present leaders in the church, so the program will continue to equip them for vocational leadership.”
Dr. Lamar Vest, president of the seminary, said the program has crucial importance in living up to the mission for which the institution was founded for in 1975.
“We were founded to provide theological education for the global Pentecostal movement, and this program allows us to reach people in places we never could have gone. If the church does not act constructively in bringing together different communities of faith within the church, then the community will dissipate.”