Bruce Burkholder D.Min.
Although independent Baptist pastoral training institutions have served the
Spanish-speaking church in Latin America for decades, most have become stagnated in academic development and institutional advancement. The purpose of this study was to develop a strategic plan that will encourage these institutions to pursue an accreditation model. This study identified five impediments to this pursuit.
1. Insufficient academic preparation of professors
2. Excessive government restrictions
3. Poor economic situation in country
4. Lack of interest/Lack of knowledge of benefits
5. Low academic level of students
This quantitative data was obtained through a Delphi survey of twenty-two individuals from three distinct subgroups: (1) Independent Baptist missionaries actively involved in pastoral training in Spanish-speaking Latin America, (2) Independent Baptist Hispanic pastors or professors who were trained in Latin America and who retain involvement in this ministry, and (3) Independent Baptist theological educators who have experience with the accreditation process. Through the Delphi survey the participants suggested the above-mentioned impediments to the pursuit of an accreditation model. The Delphi expert panel also provided qualitative data by sharing additional insight into the nature of the impediments through comments made within the survey and personal conversations with the author.
Once the five impediments had been identified a Delphi support team worked with the author to develop a strategic plan to address each impediment. Specific goals were set, and action steps were identified. Most importantly, the strategic plan encourages independent Baptist pastoral training institutions in Spanish-speaking Latin America to promptly initiate and to passionately pursue the core concepts of the accreditation model, specifically, the standardization of curriculum, external peer review and internal quality assessment.
The project concludes with recommendations to independent Baptist churches, ministries, and pastoral training institutions in both the United States and Spanish-speaking Latin America.