Since colonial times, Latin America has suffered violence and poverty, and this has limited the access to education for many. To this day, we are flooded with theologies and leadership philosophies that perpetuate those social challenges. In this context, the Community of Interdisciplinary Theological Studies (CETI by its initials in Spanish) opened a path for theologizing in a contextual and refreshing way. CETI fosters creative and dialogical participation from and for everyday life. In doing so, CETI contributes to experiencing and living out the Gospel amid the realities of Latin America.
CETI began in the 1980s in Argentina, with the vision to open opportunities for young professionals, pastors, and new generations of leaders of the evangelical church in Latin America to connect their faith to their personal and public lives. People like Miguel Zandrino, Samuel and Lilly Escobar, René and Catalina Feser Padilla, David and Elsie Romanenghi Powell, and Sydney Rooy began to offer courses on work, family, church, and society. Since 2011, a Continent-wide team has been stewarding CETI’s integral theological approach in order to serve students from all over Latin America and beyond.
BGU’s theology, leadership philosophy, and commitment to develop Christ-centered leaders that transform the global cities very naturally connect with CETI’s engagement of life and mission. Aware of that, BGU and CETI leadership began conversations over a year ago, exploring how to better serve the Latin American context with Jesus’ integral mission at the center. The encounters between the staff of both organizations began with the purpose of getting to know one another and to develop trust and a better understanding on how we could serve together. Conversation confirmed that we share a commitment to developing leaders who yearn to transform their communities. We also share God’s heart for the vulnerable, the call to work for justice, the value of cities, and the necessity to live in an ever-deepening relational community. Both organizations want to contribute to the doing of theology from everyday life so that communities may authentically and holistically experience the transformative power of the kingdom of God and its justice. We desire to strengthen leaders who steward resources with and for vulnerable people and places.
Given all these shared values and vision, CETI and BGU decided to come together and sign a partnership agreement for the development and implementation of a Master’s of Transformational Leadership degree in Spanish that can serve leaders in the Spanish speaking world. CETI and BGU are responding to God’s invitation to see and celebrate the leaders who work with and for the least, the last, and the lost in our society. By joining efforts, CETI and BGU will be able to provide Latin American leaders with a competitive degree that will help them better serve their communities in different spheres of influence.
Although there is still work to be done, we are taking concrete steps to launch the first cohort of students in January 2021. We trust this partnership will strengthen the capacity of both BGU and CETI to bear witness to what God is doing in the different Latin American countries, to bring high quality theological and leadership formation to those who could not afford it otherwise, and to call forth leaders who want to see the whole church living the whole Gospel in the whole world.
Joel D. Aguilar Ramírez