We have celebrated with excitement our first 100 years as the Church of the Nazarene. God has been faithful to us and has given to us the privilege of taking part. We thank God because throughout our history He has raised up many generations of Nazarenes throughout the world who with commitment, devotion and sacrifice have consecrated their lives and ministries to build the church.
At the beginning of our second century of life as a denomination, one of the greatest challenges we face pertains to our identity. Who are we? What are our historical and theological roots? Where are we headed as a denomination? These are vital questions we should ask ourselves and answer with clarity because in these times of globalization we could easily become diluted and stray from our reason for existence.
About a decade ago, at the end of the nineties, our General Superintendents warned us about the importance of preserving our identity as Nazarenes in these words:
“In its transition to the new millennium it is fitting that the Church of the Nazarene identify the distinctive aspects that we joyfully embrace and celebrate. With pleasure we offer our most precious treasures – our mission, calling, beliefs and highest values – as a gift to coming generations.”
This is a key time to reaffirm our core values as the Church of the Nazarene. For this reason the Ministry of Theological Education of the South America Region is working to accomplish three fundamental objectives:
1.Generate a system of theological education that accompanies the WHOLE church in the fulfillment of its mission in the face of contemporary challenges.
2.Facilitate the necessary processes for the formation of the greatest number of excellent Christian ministers at different levels in the entire SAM Region.
3.Consolidate and reaffirm our identity and doctrinal heritage in the ministerial succession. Under these parameters that direct our working strategies we are developing various educational projects at our eight theological institutions in South America, including the following highlights:
- Academic Programs
- Decentralized Faculty
- Virtual Campus
This is an advanced level of discipleship that seeks to equip each member of the Church of the Nazarene in South America for the fulfillment of his or her local church ministry. It consists of 10 courses-workshops including four common courses and six courses specialized according to the ministry of each person.
Our system of theological education in South America includes a network of seven Seminaries, distributed in 10 countries of the Region, serving a thousand students that are enrolled in different programs.
The growth sustained by the Church of the Nazarene in South America in the last years has generated the need to reaffirm more than ever our Nazarene identity for the new generation of believers. As Wesleyans we believe in the importance of Christian discipleship and ministerial education as decisive elements for maintaining the integrity of our church and to secure the future for our next generation of Nazarenes. Correctly the writer and theologian David McKenna has written: “Wesleyans are people with precious traditions, and the opportunity to play a principal role in the spiritual history of the 21st century.”