The Oikonomia Network is delighted to announce that LABI College/Latin American Theological Seminary (LABI/LATS) has become one of our partner schools. We remain deeply grateful to God for bringing us new partnerships, and rely on his grace for much fruitfulness as we walk together in the mission he has given theological education in our time.
Founded in 1926 by Alice Luce, LABI is the oldest Hispanic Bible College in the United States. LATS, a graduate school, was founded in 1975. Both institutions currently focus on theological training for Hispanic pastors. In light of the drama of Pentecost and the prophetic visions of Isaiah 60 and Revelation 21-22, the ON recognizes the essential role of diverse cultures and people-groups in God’s redemptive plan; thus, the network is especially pleased to be partnering with a school that serves a population historically underserved by theological education. (Although LABI and LATS are distinct institutions, owing to their unique shared history and partnership the ON is treating them as a single school.)
Faculty and administrative leaders at LABI/LATS are embracing theological education for whole-life discipleship, fruitful work and economic wisdom in partnership with the ON. As the school says in a statement about the new partnership:
The Economist recently stated that “the descendants of Hernán Cortés and his conquistadores are today poised, because of its youthful population growth within the fifty-seven million Hispanics in the United States to fire up America.” Shortly after, the Los Angeles Times stated: “It’s official: Latinos now outnumber whites in California. California is the harbinger of the national rise of Latinos in the United States.” Dr. Jesse Miranda, considered by many the godfather of the Hispanic evangelical movement, observes that these demographic shifts are creating an unprecedented opportunity for the Latino church to flourish and contribute toward a free and prosperous society.
In partnership with the ON, LABI and LATS will collaborate on research, curriculum development, and scholarly conferences to assist in advancing the six ON student outcome goals. The ON partnership will also help us build strategic plans to cultivate a national movement among Latino churches in providing leadership training and educational resources for the flourishing of Hispanic churches and communities.
In March, LABI/LATS launched the Dr. Jesse Miranda Center for Hispanic Leadership. Some of the center’s core objectives are assisting Latino pastors and leaders integrating faith in the workplace, advancing Christ’s mission to reduce poverty, and providing an educational framework and resources on faith and work, and economic issues.
LABI/LATS have also begun work to develop a tool for measuring educational outcomes tied to the six ON student outcome goals. This English and Spanish assessment tool will help evaluate the needs across our Hispanic churches regarding training, education, workshops and specialized courses. Further, LAB/LATS plans to offer a six-month series of courses culminating in a Faith, Work and Economics certificate program (anticipated spring 2017).
Marty Harris, president of LABI and LATS, serves on the ON’s assessment working group and spoke about the unique opportunities and challenges of whole-life discipleship among Hispanic evangelicals at the 2016 ON faculty retreat. We look forward to opportunities for deeper partnership with LABI/LATS faculty as we learn from each other in the context of this new partnership.
Schools are invited to become partners of the ON by the ON steering committee. This follows a relational process of mutual discernment with faculty and administrative leaders from a school, focused on the ON’s student outcome goals, in which we ask one another how partnership with the ON can help a school accomplish its educational mission. Feel free to contact us with questions.