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Latin America Resource
and Training Center

Let Him Teach!
By Rod Boyd

ISUM Panama“We have different gifts,
according to the grace given us.
If a man’s gift is… teaching,
let him teach.”

—Romans 12:6-7

I just finished two intensive, rewarding weeks of teaching the second ISUM Seminar here in Panama. ISUM is a Spanish acronym for the Latin America Advanced School of Theology. It functions as the fourth year of Bible school, resulting in the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in theology. The program consists of 20 two-credit courses, offered in four, four-week seminars. It is targeted to pastors and others fully involved in ministry.

ISUM PanamaMost often the seminars are held in the central Bible schools, located in the larger cities of the countries in Latin America. Unfortunately, Panama has not had adequate facilities to be able to host the seminars since our central Bible school in Panama City doesn’t have dorm facilities. Improvements have been made at our national camp, so two years ago the very first ISUM seminar was held in Panama.

ISUM PanamaA year ago, the director of ISUM asked if I’d be interested in teaching a course during the second seminar for ISUM. My class would be contemporary theology. I can’t even begin to describe the intensity of preparation and teaching. If I had only known! And if that’s how I felt, imagine how the intensity of the learning experience for the students!

The dividends are just as indescribable. I had 38 students, 26 from Panama and 12 from other countries—Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador. Eight students graduated from the ISUM program in a beautiful graduation ceremony at the Catedral de Vida church in Panama City. Only two of the eight were Panamanian. But one of them, Alexis Esquivel, is a good friend. 

ISUM PanamaI had taught two of the students previously in Bible school. One of the students is a presbyter; one is the national Sunday school director; one is one of our best LACC school directors. All are colleagues and friends. So it was a challenge to shift to the “teacher-student” relationship.

The absolute joy of teaching is seeing the impact upon these leaders. And my subject was so pertinent to the many pastors who are confronted with “every wind of doctrine” and church fad imaginable. The intensity of the ISUM experience--community, schedule, chapels, fellowship, etc.--helps to create a community among the students. Students and professors alike live together—studying, eating, laughing and even crying at times. It is this intensity that helps ISUM to fulfill its slogan: “knowledge and fervor.”

ISUM PanamaThe many hugs, words of appreciation and expressions of commitment to continue studying are evidences of lives that have been impacted. Because of our schedule and travels, I haven’t been able to teach like I did a few years ago. The Lord has reminded me that teaching is a really good thing. It is the direct fulfillment of God’s call on my life to raise up Christian leaders in Latin America. So, if a man’s gift is teaching… let him teach!

Please pray for the ministry of ISUM. Pray that many more pastors and ministry leaders would recognize the importance of continuing their ministerial education and enter the ISUM program.