Spotlight on CIID: Leadership Development in Latin America
By Carl Stagner
Local empowerment. It’s one of the best things about much of what the Church of God is doing around the world today. It’s also one of the things that often sets the Movement apart among international operations based in the United States and Canada. A prime example of this dynamic is the theological education and training in Latin America through the Latin American leadership body known as the CIID. The cost of ministerial education might prevent some believers from embracing their God-given call, but the Church of God in the United States and Canada is partnering with the Church of God in Latin America to make theological training accessible to as many people as possible. While popular concern expresses doubt over the future of the church, rising numbers of Latin American believers called to lead in the church and society give much reason for hope.
According to Alberto Martínez Jordán, CIID leader, “Today, theological education in Latin America is in crisis. There is an urgent need to prepare church leaders and the next generation for the challenges they will face as they continue the work of maintaining the principles and the theological values of the Church of God in Latin America.”
The need is now. CIID sees it firsthand, and the Church of God in the United States and Canada recognizes the need even from a distance. The partnership, which allows CIID to assign scholarships, as appropriate, to emerging leaders seeking theological education at a Church of God institution, financially enables those who have accepted the call to pursue that which God has planted within. The incredible development as of late is the sheer number of students applying for the scholarships. The harvest is ready, students are saying, “Here I am, Lord, send me!” but apart from generous gifts from the Church of God in the United States and Canada, scholarship funding is drying up.
Late this summer, Alberto Martínez Jordán reached out to Church of God Ministries about the possibilities. He reported increasing interest in theological education—paralleling church growth across Latin America—but also the establishment of a waitlist because of a lack of support.
Michaela Urban, projects and disaster relief specialist for Church of God Ministries, explains the eternal value of what’s taking place in Latin America today among these budding ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. “The CIID leadership know the applicants personally,” she says. “They are the ones best equipped to allocate the funds where they should go. This project was born in the heart of our Latin American leaders in the Church of God, not here in the States. This is one great way we can partner with them.”
Scholarships help students attend four Latin American schools of the Church of God online or in-person, including the Daniel Warner Theological Institute, La Boa Terra Theological Institute (Brazil), La Beuna Tierra Theological Institute (Mexico), and Anderson University through the Certificate of Biblical and Theological Studies program in Spanish.
One-time gifts are always welcome, but ongoing support is especially crucial as training is ongoing. Please learn more and consider partnership today at https://chogglobal.org/mission-projects/projects-latin-america/theologyinla/.