Hispanic Ministry to the Community- Professor Mariano Avila

On Monday nights, from 7:45pm until 9:00pm, there is a Hispanic Ministry Course offered here at CTS.  The Kerux contacted Professor Mariano Avila, the course instructor, to hear more about this great class.

So, Professor Avila, you are teaching a Monday night class, here at CTS, entitled Hispanic Ministry to the Community.  Would you please share with us how this course came about and what it entails?

The program started the Fall of 2012 and this is the third course in a series of 7. The Doug and Maria DeVos foundation was interested in starting a training program for Hispanic pastors in Grand Rapids and they approached me to start it. Then, CTS came on board and was very supportive of the project and we have had for three semesters a constant group of 45-50 pastors every Monday night learning Bible (NT in the Fall 2012, OT in the Spring of 2013) and now a biblical perspective on Community transformation.  

What is the denominational make-up of your class and how are the participants relating to the Reformed tradition/theology?

The pastors come from Pentecostal, Charismatic and Neo-charismatic churches, Baptist, Methodist, CRC, RCA, non-denominational, etc. The students are highly appreciative of our emphasis on Scriptures and our respect for their own traditions.

What is it that you hope to impart upon the participants in the class?  What is the take-away?

I am very thankful to God that we have the opportunity to contribute to the formation of pastors (men and women) who are making a difference in our city and in other cities in Western Michigan. It is a miracle from God that people from such different backgrounds are here together studying the Bible. I am humbled by that privilege.

This semester, CTS also offered a class entitled African American Preaching in an Urban Context.  What are your hopes that CTS will offer more classes that speak to the diversity in our culture?

I am sooo glad that our community is open not only to teach but to learn from other traditions and ethnic groups. This only makes us richer and better.

Thank you for your time, Professor Avila.  Any last thoughts for our Kerux readers?

Please, pray for us that efforts like these multiply and that CTS becomes a small expression of God’s Kingdom. but we are saying: this is too precious a thing to forget, we have to have this among our own other observations as we go forward. Kuyper is too rich and rare a resource not to avail ourselves of. He deserves to be in the pantheon of examples from the past that we’re bouncing off of—not the only one, but one of them.