FORT WORTH?Three educational institutions and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention signed an agreement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary May 3 to provide accredited higher education for Hispanics.
Jacksonville College, represented by President Edwin Crank, Criswell College, represented by President Jerry Johnson, Southwestern Seminary, represented by President Paige Patterson, and the SBTC, represented by Executive Director Jim Richards and Hispanic Initiative Director Mike Gonzales, made official an agreement to assist Hispanics in obtaining college and graduate training.
“We are excited to help provide quality education, built on the inerrancy of God’s word, for leaders of our state’s Hispanic churches. No one else is working in Texas to provide this kind of biblically-based, comprehensive training,” said SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards.
Hispanic Initiative Director Mike Gonzales added, “It is amazing how God brought all this together. Texas Hispanic pastors have a golden opportunity to further their education.”
The agreement is intended to create an “educational superhighway for Hispanic ministers.” Students may obtain certificate-level training in ministry and continue to a doctoral degree through the participating schools.
The basic curriculum consists of 24 hours of biblical studies courses and six hours of English language courses. These courses will be offered at five sites provided by the partner institutions. SBTC will confer a certificate to students completing the courses and they may also be applied to undergraduate studies at the partnering schools. The three institutions plan to offer courses beginning this fall.
President Edwin Crank of Jacksonville College noted: “The potential to help reach 6.7 million Hispanics in Texas is challenging. This is not only an educational endeavor, but an outreach opportunity.”
Expanding this thought, SWBTS President Paige Patterson said: “t1:State w:st=”on”>Texas, and the whole Southwest, is characterized by increasing Hispanic ethnicity. What a noble assignment the SBTC has undertaken and how appropriate for the three great schools to cooperative together to make available to our Hispanic brothers and sisters an approach to Christian leadership for the churches. This is cooperative missions at its best.”
Criswell College President Jerry Johnson stated: “The Hispanic population in Texas is growing and will continue to grow in the future. Christians must see it as an opportunity. God has commanded us to evangelize the nations and in this case an ethnic group is coming to us. We should not only walk through this open door to evangelize, but also to disciple and train a generation of Hispanic church leaders. Criswell is excited to be a part of the Hispanic Studies Agreement with the SBTC, Southwestern Seminary and Jacksonville College.”
Earlier this year and as a part of the Hispanic Initiative, the SBTC announced a scholarship program at Southwestern for Hispanic Ph.D. students?named for Rudy A. and Lucy L. Hernandez. The late Dr. Hernandez was a vocational evangelist and the first director of the SBTC’s Hispanic Initiative.