It’s a pretty incredible sight.
Hundreds of Latino pastors, crowded into a room, hungry for the Word and ready to grow in their theology.
They come for three day sessions, twice a year, as they work through their seminary studies. Why is it done this way? These men and women are already in full-time ministry. They are in positions where they can’t drop everything and uproot their families to go attend seminary.
Many have said, nationals and missionaries alike, that the greatest need in the Latin American church is the need for theological education. Good theology! This is a region of the world where Catholicism has reigned for hundreds of years, but where the prosperity gospel is also growing like an untamed weed. Evangelism is truly only the first piece, the first step. What comes after that? Discipleship. That’s the longer step, the piece that takes dedicated relationship and a commitment to walk through life with people. Commitment to the long-haul.
The design of IBAC is discipleship of pastors and church leaders, who will (and often are already) leading people in their own local community. Men who are leading out of their own testimony and knowledge of God, but need further training in the proper handling of the Word.
Consider how this model of multiplication discipleship affects the countries where it is being used–
IBAC has a presence in five countries – Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and the United States. There are currently 22 locations, training between 2,200 and 2,500 pastors and church leaders annualy. That’s 2,500 men and women who are in leadership positions in their churches, so consider how many people they are discipling themselves and affecting with the Word!
The 7 year program has been completed already in five locations, which represents about 660 graduates to date. IBAC is planning on starting new Bible Institutes in 6 new locations (in Ecuador, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama). What huge opportunities to bring people into deeper knowledge of the Word, and then have them apply it immediately in their own native setting.
There are currently 22 partner churches who have adopted a Bible Institute – 21 in the United States, and 1 in Costa Rica. If your church, or a group from your church is interested in more information, or making the commitment to walking alongside one of these schools, you can contact Jim Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.