Eighty-six percent of the school population surrounding Sunnyside (Wash.) Christian Reformed Church is Hispanic. As part of its outreach the church recruited Gerry Muller, a Nicaraguan baseball player turned evangelist, and six years ago Iglesia Evangelica Cristiana Reformada was born.
With the church birthed and growing, Muller saw a need for more leaders trained in Reformed ministry.
So Muller, ordained as a ministry associate in the Christian Reformed Church, launched an Adelante (which means “Go Forward”) program of intensive leadership-training courses. He recruited and mentored Daniel Lopez, also an ordained ministry associate, to teach it. Sunnyside CRC and Classis Columbia fund half of Lopez’s salary, while Muller’s church, Iglesia Evangelica, funds the other half.
The first phase of Adelante is a two-year course on Bible content and includes training for church members to become elders, deacons, and church school teachers. Some students go on to the second two-year phase to study theology, Reformed doctrine and practice, and how to pastor a congregation.
Currently six men are enrolled in the first phase and two in the second. After the four-year course, some may continue with their education and become church planters.
Muller, himself a graduate of an Adelante program in California, said mentoring students is key to the program.