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Summit 2008 Argentina:
New Horizons in Ministerial Training

By Rod Boyd

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.

—Ephesians 3:20-21

Those that know me well know that I have an extensive library of Star Trek paperback books… like just about all of them. Ever since I was a young boy, I dreamed about the stars. For me, Star Trek epitomized hope and dreams, imagination and possibilities.

The Argentina Summit was the second this year. 
There were 225 educators and leaders from 13
countries that attended the first, held in Guatemala
 in April, targeting northern Latin America and the
Caribbean.  See
Educators Summit 2008 Guatemala

Summit 2008 Argentina

Larger group photo

Summit 2008 ArgentinaIn the same way, Paul’s words above—a crescendo of hope and possibility—remind me that with God all things are possible!  Without God we are powerless, unable to conceive of the good things He has planned for us. But when his power is at work within us, He allows us glimpses into the impossible. Just like the sun rising over the horizon, we imagine the possibilities!
New Horizons in Ministerial Training was the theme of the recently concluded Educators Summit 2008 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This event was directed at the six “southern cone” countries of South America—Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru and Bolivia. Two years ago, 108 national leaders, educational leaders, Bible school directors and professors attended the Summit from 10 countries. This year we had set the goal at 150 and God helped us surpass this with a total of 175 attending from 12 Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Summit 2008 ArgentinaBut the story isn’t just in the numbers. It is in the New Horizons in ministerial education for these countries. It is the awakening of a new vision, the renewing of purpose and commitment. Grasping that training pastors, missionaries, evangelists and teachers is not just the foundation of a strong church, but is the church’s consummate expression of faith that God is building his church and we must be prepared for today’s and tomorrow’s harvests!

It is a New Day for countries like Chile and Uruguay. A few months ago we reported on the International Educational Leaders Dialogue held in Santiago, Chile in March (see Educational Leaders “Dialogue South”). The goal of these Dialogues is to encourage national education leaders (and missionaries!) to work together to identify and begin solving problems in our ministerial training programs.

Summit 2008 ArgentinaAt the time, the Bible school program in Chile was underachieving. The national Christian education director was not active. The national superintendent wasn’t a Bible school supporter. Neither attended the Dialogue. But others from Chile did. And just three short weeks later, one of them was elected as the new superintendent and another as the national Christian education director. Missionary Jim Mazurek reported, “It’s a new day in Chile!” He is working with the new superintendent and new CE director to revitalize Chile’s Bible schools. And as evidence… just 5 Chileans attended the Summit two years ago, this year 34 traveled hundreds of miles to participate, including the two newly elected leaders.

Summit 2008 ArgentinaThe superintendent of Uruguay and director of Christian Education also attended the Dialogue in Chile. They returned back to their country and started to evaluate their Bible schools. Two years ago, just 4 attended the Summit. This year, Uruguay had 25 attend! Two years ago two attended from Venezuela. This year there were 15.

Each participant was challenged to update their commitment to God’s call to train ministers. We were reminded of the challenge and need to work together at all levels—on the Bible school level, national level and even internationally—to provide quality training to meet the growing diversity of ministry needs to remain relevant in a world that each day becomes more complex and more demanding.

Summit 2008 ArgentinaSummit 2008 ArgentinaTwo highlights...  Dick Nicholson, Latin America/ Caribbean Regional Director for AGWM, spoke in the last evening service from II Kings 3. Donning his Argentine leather cowboy hat and shovel in hand he demonstrated the importance of preparing for the miracle—digging a well in the desert where there is no water.

The second was commitment session at the end where the director of Christian education, superintendent or other representative from each country read aloud the commitment statement that their delegations had crafted. The result was an international declaration of commitment. The new superintendent from Chile, Roberto Ruz, led the group in a prayer. It was unifying and powerful!

Summit 2008 ArgentinaSitting here at IBRP… There is so much more that I could share, and I will later. We’re getting ready to leave for the airport. We’re sitting in our room looking out over the campus of IBRP—Instituto Bíblico Río de la Plata or River Plate Bible Institute. Rocky Grams, missionary and director of the Bible school, was our host for the Summit. His students served us with excellence. Hands down, IBRP is our model Bible school in Latin America! There are several hundred that attend day classes, night classes or Saturday classes, in a year-round program. What a thrill to be able to show all those who attended how it’s done.

Summit 2008 ArgentinaBut it hasn’t always been like this. Rocky shared the story of its humble beginnings and the day he became director as a young missionary many years ago. There were just 53 students and no one wanted it. But God put something in his heart. He believes so much in his students and sees each student is a rising star of potential.

What’s on the horizon? Something new, something great, something unimaginable, something that God intends to do “according to his power that is at work in us! To him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.

Summit 2008 Argentina

Summit 2008 Argentina

Summit 2008 Argentina