LifeWay Global Trains Thousands of Spanish-Speaking Church Leaders

LifeWay Muerjes authors (L-R) Aixa de López, Wendy Bello, Karla Fernandez and Catherine Scheraldi de Núñez participate in a panel discussion at the 2019 Equipa conference in November. López and Bello are instructors on the Equipa digital training platform. Photo by Jorge Pavía

It wasn’t that long ago the LifeWay Global team dreamed about ways to resource pastors and other church leaders around the world — those with extremely limited or no access to formal theological training.

The vision of Ariel Irizarry, the leader of LifeWay Global’s training, became a reality when LifeWay Equipa (pronounced aye-KEEP-ah) — a Spanish-language training platform –launched in May 2019 at lifewayequipa.com.

The digital platform stems from the desire to respond to the needs of pastors and lay leaders around the world, said Craig Featherstone, senior director for LifeWay Global.

“We’re hearing the heartbeat of the church and the nations toward understanding how to contextualize solutions for the local church,” Featherstone said of the international outreach of LifeWay Christian Resources, which is now distributing resources in 164 countries.

Latin America is at the forefront of an emerging LifeWay Global strategy extending beyond LifeWay’s longstanding publishing and distribution of Spanish-language Bibles and translations of books, Sunday School curriculum and other resources.

Authors, conferences, digital training

A major shift several years ago was LifeWay Español’s enlistment of Hispanic pastors and authors — now numbering more than 40 — to produce books and resources within their cultural context.

Mexico was the site of two large-scale conferences: Crece (“Growth”) in 2018, a gathering in Merida that drew 1,700 pastors and church leaders and Equipa (“Equip”), a 2019 conference in Querétaro attended by more than 3,000 in November. Equipa conference registrants came from 60 denominations and church networks, 20 Mexican states, five U.S. states, and five other Latin American countries.

The 2019 conference served as a catalyst for the Equipa online training platform. The LifeWay Mexico team, led by Eva Uria, voiced the idea of linking the Equipa name to the conference and pointing attendees — and the many believers they influence — to the platform’s resources.

Uria said some of the participants already have their own content in printed publications, “but they are really excited about the online platform. They believe it is a great tool. And they trust our biblical content.”

Uria also noted a hunger for unity at the two-day conference.

“Everybody is saying how amazing it is that LifeWay made it possible — God made it possible — to unite all these people with the gospel and the sense of unity that Christ put in the Church.”

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Source: Baptist Press