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New president outlines vision for Hispanic Baptist Theological School


SAN ANTONIO (BP)–In his inaugural address as president of Hispanic Baptist Theological School, Albert Reyes said he envisions the school emerging as a “Bible College for the Americas” training cross-cultural ministry leaders for the new millennium.
Reyes presented his vision for Hispanic Baptist Theological School at his formal investiture as the school’s sixth president, Oct. 8 at Harlandale Baptist Church in San Antonio.
“The vision of Hispanic Baptist Theological School is to become a premiere equipper of cross-cultural ministry leaders who serve in a multicultural context,” Reyes said, quoting the vision statement approved by trustees earlier that same day. Trustees also approved a $944,000 budget for the school in 2000 and adopted a strategic plan through the year 2001.
“What we are saying is that in the near future, HBTS will be recognized as the place where ministry leaders gain the skills and knowledge needed to be effective in 21st-century Texas and beyond,” Reyes said.
Texas and the entire Western Hemisphere will become increasingly bicultural and bilingual in the next few years, he noted.
“We will need skilled servant leaders effective in cross-cultural settings who know how to bring to bear the disciplines of biblical knowledge, theological inquiry, historical reflection and hermeneutic skill in a predominantly Hispanic context,” he said.
Reyes outlined five initiatives that will enhance the school’s ability to fulfill its potential and realize its vision:
— Accreditation. Reyes reported that the school has begun the process of becoming a fully accredited Bible college. Hispanic Baptist Theological School anticipates achieving candidate status with the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges by next fall. He predicted the school could be granted accredited member status by fall 2001.
Reyes also reported that the school is seeking a certificate of authority with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board — a legal requirement to grant accredited degrees.
“We will focus on a world-class Bible-centered higher education with a high level of analytical and communicative skills, biblical worldview, global vision of the church’s mission and a commitment to spread the gospel message to a needy world.
“We will join the ranks of 600 Bible colleges nationwide … and become the first Texas Baptist Bible college teaching from a bilingual and bicultural perspective,” he said.
“I see the emergence of a Bible College for the Americas strategically positioned for global impact from deep in the heart of Texas.”
— Student enrollment. “Without students, we have no school,” Reyes said, stressing that the recruitment and retention of students will become a priority.
Current enrollment is 61 on-campus students — a 50 percent increase over the spring semester — and 200 enrolled in off-campus programs. The strategic plan approved by the school’s trustees calls for establishing a student recruitment program within the next two years.
“We anticipate 100 students on campus in the spring of 2000 and 200 students on campus by the fall of 2001. I see the day when we will have 500 on-campus students and at least that many in our 14 off-campus centers,” Reyes said.
“Working together, there is no reason why we can’t reach an equipping level of 1,000 students over the next 10 years.”
— Strategic partnerships. “We realize that HBTS cannot do this work alone. In the new millennium, networking service organizations will rule the day,” Reyes said.
The school will continue to enhance working relationships with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, associations of churches and other Christian organizations and equipping entities.
In particular, he said the school will explore cooperative agreements with Texas Baptist universities to seek ways they could work together, share resources and help each other.
— Endowment. Reyes announced that the school will work toward establishing a multi-million dollar endowment. “We will intensively seek to articulate our mission and vision to donors, foundations and friends that deem our cause strategic in redemptive history,” he said.
As part of the strategic plan through the year 2001, the school’s trustees approved initiatives to establish development and public relations offices within the next year. The goal is for sustaining donors to provide at least 25 percent of the school’s annual operating costs.
— Spiritual health. “Spiritual formation will become a key focus of our school,” Reyes said.
“We want to be a school where students encounter the living God through the lives of their professors, administration and staff. Generation X wants to experience God in tangible ways. We want to be a place where students can encounter the living God during their preparatory years.”
Reyes, 40, was founding pastor of Pueblo Nuevo Community Church in El Paso. Before coming to the El Paso congregation in 1992, the Corpus Christi native was pastor of United in Christ Baptist Church and Iglesia Bautista Alfa, both in Dallas.
He earned a bachelor of business administration degree from Angelo State University, San Angelo, and the master of divinity and doctor of ministry in missiology degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. He did additional post-graduate study at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif.
Reyes served as an adjunct professor and academic consultant at Hispanic Baptist Theological Seminary, as adjunct instructor at Howard Payne University-El Paso and as lecturer at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary in Waco.
He was founding director of El Paso Baptist Association’s Borderland Leadership Center, director of Hispanic Baptist Theological Seminary-El Paso, and founding president of the Intercultural Leadership Network.
Reyes and his wife, Belinda, have three sons: Joshua, David and Thomas.