Kansas City District provides opportunities for higher education in Spanish
Fri, 08/19/2022 – 14:11
The Kansas City Spanish School of Ministry has been raising up Hispanic pastors on the Kansas City District since 2015. The school’s efforts have expanded to higher education with an aim to have 100 students by the district’s 100th anniversary in 2024.
Director Carlos Fernandez said that the district has a great need for Hispanic pastors since many Hispanic families move to the area for better economic and educational opportunities.
“During that process, they find Jesus Christ, and that changes their lives,” Fernandez said. “It changes their spiritual condition, and they start seeing life in a different way. [They wonder] how to invest their lives, what to study, and how they can love God and serve Him better.”
The Spanish School of Ministry exists specifically to advise individuals who are at that crossroad and help bring them into the ministry. Students can take the general course of study and begin to work towards district licensing and ordination, also receiving assistance in helping them gain their GED if needed.
Another track offers the opportunity to partner with Seminario Nazareno de las Américas (SENDAS) for a bachelor’s degree, and since 2020 the school has offered courses toward a master’s degree through SENDAS. The Kansas City District is the only district in the Nazarene church to offer a master’s degree directly through its school of ministry.
While there are Nazarene educational institutions within the borders of the Kansas City District, Fernandez’s goal is to complement them by offering Spanish language courses.
Fernandez recalled hearing from young, Hispanic pastors that there were not many opportunities for Spanish-language ministerial higher education in the United States. That’s why he added bachelor’s and master’s tracks into the school with the help of SENDAS. He hopes the Kansas City Spanish School of Ministry serves the Hispanic population and helps provide them the same opportunities as students have abroad.
There are currently just over 80 students enrolled in coursework through the Spanish School of Ministry. Of the 100 churches on the district, 30 of them are Spanish-speaking or multicultural.
“We need to have servant leaders who are willing to open churches and to strengthen the existing churches,” Fernandez said. “So, through the School of Ministry, we will be able to raise new servants. We are praying to the Lord that He will help us to have 100 students preparing themselves to work in ministry and to strengthen the existing churches.”
The program is already having an impact on the Kansas City District, as many of the district’s current pastors have graduated from the school. In 2023, nine of those students will graduate from the course of study, and six will graduate from the bachelor’s degree program.
Fernandez said that recently, a student came to the program through a fellow student’s referral. That man was so impacted by his studies that he eventually invited his whole family to start taking the courses.
“Now the whole family, they are graduating from the program and they are Nazarene pastors,” Fernandez said.