In early February, President Wendy Deichmann and Dean David Watson signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Global Empowerment Ministries, launching United's online Hispanic lay ministry school called "Hispanic Christian Academy."
“The whole idea behind the program is to multiply leaders to expand the kingdom of God,” said Dr. Iosmar Alavarez ’11, CEO of Global Empowerment Ministries. “It is a lay movement … We want to train lay leaders to expand the kingdom of God by planting churches that make disciples, and then more disciples who plant more churches.”
The Hispanic Christian Academy, housed in the Center for Hispanic Ministry within United’s School for Discipleship and Renewal, is a lay ministry school that connects Hispanic first, second and third generations with God and one another. The goal of this online program, which launched in February with more than 20 students, is to impact the local church through equipping and training leaders to serve as local pastors, associate pastors, church planters, evangelists, missioners and other roles of ministry.
Alvarez said Global Empowerment Ministries chose United because of what it represents and its focus on the community.
“We chose United because they are very creative. United is doing very great things that no one else is doing,” Alvarez said. “We chose United, not only because I was a student here, but because of what United represents and what United is.”
President Deichmann noted her appreciation for the hard work of those who were involved in the project. Represented at the signing were: Dr. Peter Bellini; Dr. Watson; Dr. Alvarez; Rev. Eliseo Mejia-Leiva, Hispanic Ministries Director, Kentucky Annual Conference of The UMC; Nelson Figueroa, Administrative Executive Officer at Global Empowerment Ministries; Phyllis Ennist, Dean of Distance Education; Ron Kuker, VP and Director of Finance; and Laura Weber, Coordinator for Discipleship and Renewal Programs and Special Events.
“This is such an important ministry, and I think by working together we will take things even to a next step. Only God can imagine and envision truly the impact this will have in the life of the church,” President Deichmann said.
Dr. Bellini, who spent the past year working on the project, noted the Memorandum of Understanding notes the terms of the partnership and also complimented Global Empowerment Ministries on its work.
“We are like-minded,” he said. “We should have been doing this yesterday. It’s long overdue …
Now we’re partnering together. It’s exciting to see the amount of people we’re going to equip, train and reach because we’re able to cross a lot of boundaries and barriers.”