NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–LifeWay Christian Resources is not new to the Hispanic marketplace.
Several of the Southern Baptist Convention’s publishing entity’s most popular resources have been translated into Spanish, including “Experiencing God” and “The Mind of Christ.”
However, once the resources have been translated the work has just begun.
In 1999, LifeWay’s international department began to hold annual meetings to train Hispanic leaders how to use LifeWay resources and equip others to use them. In mid-June, 70 Spanish-speaking volunteer consultants — the largest group since the program began — attended the International Hispanic Trainers Meeting at LifeWay. Consultants traveled to Nashville from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain and Venezuela.
“Immediately after the international department was developed, we saw a need to multiply ourselves,” said Luis Aranguren, the unit’s director. “We had consultants here in Nashville, but we needed a way to work directly with the people we were selling our products to around the world.
“When we first started the conference, our main goal was to expose these people to LifeWay’s vision and mission,” Aranguren said. “We wanted to help the volunteers working with us to grow and solidify their training techniques and abilities. Our goal now is to equip them so they can go back to their homelands and do the same kind of training.”
“We get so many requests from churches all over the world,” said Luis Lopez, a consultant in the International Department. “It would be impossible for us to meet those needs without our network of volunteer consultants.”
Consultants have the opportunity to learn about a number of LifeWay resources throughout their three days of intensive training.
Workshops are held for products including, but not limited to “Cuando Dios Habla” (When God Speaks), “Tuyo es el Reino” (Thine Is the Kingdom), “Principos del Reino” (Kingdom Principles) and “En el Case de mi Padre” (In My Father’s House). Workshops also were held to train consultants on how to use LifeWay Bible study materials.
This year, the conference also introduced a new book, written by Aranguren, “Ministerio Discipular Transformador” (Transformational Discipleship Ministry).
“We are very excited about this book,” Lopez said. “This is the first resource that we have been able to offer to our consultants that actually explains and defines discipleship.”
Pedro Emilio Slachta of Santa Fe, Argentina, a new participant in the conference, said he was excited about the increased focus on discipleship.
“[The conference is important] first of all, because it helps us grasp the vision for what discipleship really means,” Slachta said. “Sometimes, if you’re just preaching, you can’t get a grasp of the entire vision. In Latin America, there’s a new awakening to the fact of how important discipleship is to the church.”
In addition to Aranguren’s book, various other products were introduced at this year’s conference.
“I see improvements [in the conference],” said Enrigue Montoya of Venezuela, citing the resources and materials available, including a CD ROM version of all sessions and presentations that participants will receive. “This should be very useful to our teachings.
“This is helping me that I can see how the teachers here present the materials,” said Montoya, who also attended the conference last year. “It gives me an idea of how I can teach. Sharing with other consultants is an enrichment — a learning experience. In my own ministry and my own life, it’s giving me ideas of how to translate all these ideas.”
Raymondo Aguilar, a consultant from Mexico City, also noted the discipleship training. Aguilar said he came to the conference because “my ministry is in the discipleship and family area in my church, and we need more training in this area to help families, couples, the young people.”
“It’s a great moment because my spirit has received new refreshment and my worldview is expanding and I feel more ready to share [what I’ve learned],” Aguilar said.
Ted Warren, LifeWay’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, welcomed the group during their opening session and expressed LifeWay’s eagerness to share their resources and expertise.
“We are not just pushing products,” Warren said. “We are seeking to respond to problems and opportunities around the world. Spiritual transformation begins first in the heart, then moves to the family, then the church, and then one’s culture. That’s why we’re here.”
Noting that people of other countries are becoming Christians at a higher rate than they are in the United States, Warren pointed out, however, that the new Christians often don’t have the resources or materials to know how to become disciples of Christ.
“We want to distribute this information and materials because spiritual transformation is more than the spiritual birth,” Warren said. “It is a growth process. The Great Commission does not leave off at the baptism…. We are to make disciples of all nations.”
Mandy Crow contributed to this story. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: HISPANICS MEET AT LIFEWAY.