The Legacy and Impact of Hispanic Educational Ministries

The Church of God Department of Hispanic Educational Ministries (HEM) in the United States and Canada, or its legal acronym USA HEM, is the unified ecosystem of biblical, ministerial, and theological education of the Church of God for all its constituents in the aforementioned countries.

According to the Director of USA HEM, Dr. Enrique A. De Jesús, its priority mission is to prepare servant leaders, which it has been carrying out with more than 98 percent effectiveness of many leaders, ministers, and pastors in various ministries of the local church around the world. As a result, hundreds of pastors, church planters, biblical and discipleship teachers, evangelists, and others have gone out to work on Christ’s mission, “from the bench to the field”.

USA HEM emerged in 2006 as an alternative response to the completion of educational offerings at the diploma level of the former Hispanic Ministerial Institute in Dallas, Texas, which closed in 2006. Subsequently, it became the leading network of educational projects and initiatives to all levels, primarily in the Spanish language, although it is expanding its reach to millennial Latinos and other ethnical groups whose first language is English.

In partnership with the Division of Education of the Church of God and alliance with other institutions of higher education, USA HEM serves as the official entity of the denomination in charge of directing the processes of educational administration; improving the quality of teaching, designing, and implementing continuing ministerial education; and preserving the Pentecostal heritage among laity, ministers, pastors, and teachers.

“The main venue of coverage is the Hispanic Bible Institutes” De Jesús said. “For more than seven decades, these have functioned as the intergenerational guardians that aid in preserving and passing on our Pentecostal doctrinal heritage.”

The first Hispanic Bible Institute originated in the Eastern Hispanic Region of Mississippi during the 1960s.

“Hispanic institutions and programs for ministerial education have allowed us to enjoy an abundant legacy of leaders who are bearing abundant, dignified, and honorable fruit,” De Jesús continued. “Some examples of alumni who are contributing to the advancement of the kingdom of God through the ministerial assignments they exercise are: Dr. David Ramírez, third assistant general overseer of the Church of God; Dr. Esdras Betancourt, former director of Hispanic Ministries, educator, dean of several programs, and now retired minister; among many others.”

Currently, USA HEM runs approximately 140 Bible Institutes operating in more than 20 states in the United States. The enrollment of the certificate program in Christian Ministries for 2018 is 2,594 students, where each year an average of 350 graduate, releasing students who are ready and passionate to leave from the classroom to fulfill the Great Commission.

The department has a National Academic Council composed of nine state or regional directors of ministerial education, hundreds of teachers duly prepared to teach in their corresponding areas, and more than 100 coordinators of educational centers. HEM is offering educational training to more than 200 Bible school teachers, discipleship groups mentors, and local church Bible schools superintendents.

FIEL USA is another arm that USA HEM directs. Its mission is to comprehensively revitalize the ministerial leadership of the Church of God in the United States. It consists of an educational summit in which general plenary sessions and reflective devotions are developed about real issues in ministry. Pastors, ministers, administrators, and educators all sit together at the same table to dialogue, united in the Spirit, and to build alternatives as well as possible practical solutions. At the end of the day, it culminates with an Affirmation Declaration that poses an agenda for transformative change.

Biblical ministerial Pentecostal education is a priority for USA HEM. Recent research statistics reveal that approximately 5 million pastors have some or no ministerial preparation. USA HEM is interested in continuing to multiply the future leadership of the faith in Jesus Christ.

“Our passion is to live the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ through an integral formation of human resources that are grounded in the Word of God,” De Jesús concluded. “We are trying to raise a large army of Pentecostal Christian educators and leaders who teach others what Jesus has commanded us to keep and witness—His Word. The urgent intention is to perpetuate the legacy through the training of people in the kingdom of God who are filled with the Holy Spirit and nourished in the Word in order to mobilize them toward the fulfillment of the FINISH Commitment. To achieve this, we need to join efforts, dedication, commitment, and finances for the same purpose.”

Everyone is encouraged to be part of this educational scope, not only in the USA, but also globally by praying and interceding for those who are immersed in the task day by day. Individuals and churches can also contribute financially to complete projects such as the Teacher Certification Program, the online platform for continuing education courses, etc. Call HEM USA at (423) 478-7231 or by e-mail, [email protected] The website is www.usameh.org.

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