Bogotá, Colombia – This year, 210 leaders will complete Anabaptist education courses at seminaries in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. Although the seminaries teach by “the book,” their students are far from traditional.
Most are church members with full-time jobs and families. One Saturday a month, they gather for a daylong intensive class, only breaking for lunch.
Each curriculum has a different structure, but they all meet the same need in each context: to raise Anabaptist leaders for a new and growing church.
The vision for this network of unique seminary programs began with the Seminario Biblico Menonita de Colombia (SBMC, or Colombia Mennonite Biblical Seminary). For more than 20 years, SBMC has educated and sent leaders for ministry throughout the world.
The fruits of SBMC’s labor started seminaries in Ecuador and Venezuela. In 2012, for example, SBMC alumni and Mennonite church-planting pastors César Moya and Patricia Urueña launched ProPaz (ProPeace), a seminary in Quito, Ecuador. Years earlier, SBMC adminstrators Alix Lozano and Zarai Gonzalia laid the groundwork for what is today Seminario Biblico Menonita de Venezuela (Mennonite Biblical Seminary of Venezuela).
Today, SBMC enrolls more than 100 students in at least one course per year in Colombia alone, and serves others through its network of satellite campuses. Enrollment is high, too, at the institutions in Ecuador and Venezuela, yet all three schools face challenges.
Nevertheless, leaders of the three seminaries report the great impact that biblical study makes in communities. “It’s worth the time and energy to develop pastors and lay leaders,” Urueña said, “because they are committed to serving their neighbors.”
From a news release by Mennonite Mission Network