Sept. 26 —Northwestern College recently hosted a meeting of the Minnesota Latino Pastors Network. More than 40 pastors, leaders and laypersons from churches and ministries throughout Minnesota gathered for the luncheon and program in Northwestern’s Billy Graham Community Life Commons.
The meeting provided opportunities to learn about Northwestern College and for attendees to connect with other Latino leaders and those involved in Hispanic ministries.
The event was initiated by Pastor Sergio Choy, president of the Minnesota Latino Pastors Network, and Fred Iglesia, D.Min., (director of the Northwestern College Bible Institute
(NBI) and professor of Biblical & Theological Studies), who share a vision of reaching the Latino community with the power of the Gospel. The NBI is an innovative program strategically partnering with local churches to provide sound Bible teaching beyond the NWC campus. From beginning with one site in 2000, the NBI has grown to three sites, including one in Spanish.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, Choy noted there is great urgency for the Latino community to be focused on education, as approximately 50 percent of Latinos are dropping out of high school. The Minnesota Latino Pastors Network presents an opportunity for “Latinos to serve Latinos,” he said. “We want to let people know education is important.” Choy commended Northwestern College for the efforts of the Northwestern College Bible Institute in bringing in-depth Bible education to the urban community.
Jesus Sanchez, a pastor for Comunidad Cristiana Tiempo Nuevo in Shakopee, attended the event with his wife and co-pastor, Asenet. At the conclusion of the luncheon Sanchez remarked that he found the program to be “Inspirational.”
According to Iglesia, the partnerships formed through the event will be “mutually beneficial in the strengthening and sharpening of our separate callings.” He noted that the visiting pastors were pleased to learn more about Northwestern, and in turn Northwestern will be pursuing further opportunities to serve the Latino community in Minnesota. Some opportunities already in progress include expanding NWC student participation in after-school tutoring programs in St. Paul, and having bi-lingual Spanish majors serve at upcoming events hosted by some of the pastors in attendance.
In addition to several presentations from college staff and faculty, the pastors’ meeting included worship, informal networking and an optional tour of KTIS Radio and the Mel Johnson Media Center.
Iglesia emphasized that the greatest outcome of the event will be advancement of God’s Kingdom, and that the event stands “as a unique moment for the cause of Christ.”