Arizona Churches Launch Training Center for Hispanic Lay Leaders

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More than 40 people have enrolled in the first class offered by the Hispanic Ministry Training Center of Arizona.

The center was launched with support from pastors from both the Christian Reformed Church and Reformed Church in America in the Phoenix area. Its program is designed to prepare church members, especially those of Mexican, Central, and South American heritage, for leadership roles, including ministry associate in the CRC and commissioned pastor in the RCA.

A class at the Hispanic Training Center of Arizona.

Jorge Garcia

With support from Partners in Christ International, a non-denominational Christian mission organization based in Tempe, Ariz., the training center is a fruit of the CRC-RCA Kingdom Enterprise Zone program.

However, the center’s classes are not limited to people from CRC or RCA congregations. Rev. Jonathan Gerstner of Christ’s Community CRC in Chandler, Ariz., said, “This is not just for the RCA and CRC in Arizona, but how we can bless our newer residents by sharing our roots.”

Center founders estimate that there are as many as 400 primarily Hispanic evangelical churches in the Phoenix area.

Classes meet weekly for six weeks and are offered at two locations. Courses include Biblical Worldview and Community Transformation, Theology and Doctrine, Spiritual Growth and Discipleship, Church History, Leadership and Management, Missions, Evangelism and Community Ministry, and Church Planting.

Gerstner notes that while he’s teaching, there are things he and his congregation can learn.

“A lot of first-generation [Hispanic] Christians are coming from a cultural Catholic background and they excel in evangelism—evangelism tends to be their lifeblood,” he said. Many more traditional congregations can benefit from such enthusiasm for spreading the gospel, he noted.

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