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12 April 2024

Gospel impact in Chile and beyond


CMS missionary Chris Overhall (serving with Stef) gives insight into our long-term partnership in theological training in Chile. He also introduces three recent graduates:

The Centre for Pastoral Studies (or ‘CEP’—it works as an acronym in Spanish, trust me!) is the theological college for the Anglican Church of Chile. For more than 20 years, CEP has trained students from Chile, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, and even Ireland and England. Many have gone on to serve God in gospel ministries across Latin America.

 

A CEP snapshot

Over time, CMS missionaries, Chilean pastors, and many other Christian teachers have served as part of the CEP faculty. Their work of equipping leaders has been significant both for gospel growth, and for the formation of workers for Spanish-speaking churches and ministries. CMS (through the Mission Support Fund) has also supported dozens of students studying at CEP over the years, many of whom continue in church leadership to this day. CEP graduates have served—and continue to serve—as pastors, leaders in Christian organisations, university Bible workers, missionaries, evangelists, and youth and children’s workers.

CEP is situated in the heart of the modern, secular, and ‘hipster’ coffee-culture of Chile’s capital, Santiago. Significant gospel needs are all around: people living on the street in poverty; people serving idols or the false gods of new age spirituality; materially well-off people with high-paying jobs, who remain oblivious to the fact that they are spiritually lost. The potential harvest is plentiful but gospel workers are few, and there is clear need for the biblical training that CEP provides. To this end, CEP currently offers a two-year fulltime degree with a focus on formation in Biblical Studies, Theology, Greek, and Pastoral Ministry.

 

Meet some CEP graduates

At CEP I’m currently teaching Biblical Theology, the letter to the Hebrews, and subjects that cover much of the Old Testament. It is a joy to open God’s word with the students as we encounter God and see Christ in all of Scripture.

I also have the delight of working alongside two CEP graduates, Alan and Francisco. I can see how deep and thorough study of God’s word at CEP has trained and shaped them for leadership.

 

Alan, Pastor in Santiago

Alan du Belloy is leading our church in Santiago and has just completed his first year of full time post-CEP ministry. He preaches well and is wise in leadership. These competencies flow out of the godly convictions and character formed during his time at CEP. It’s been a joy to be part of his training and now to continue in the role of coaching him. Alan said recently, “CEP gave me the key tools to personally deepen my study of the Bible, to teach others, and to care for the church from a solid theological perspective.”

 

Francisco, General Secretary of GBU

Francisco Flores serves as the General Secretary of GBU Chile (Grupo Biblico Universitario, the tertiary student Bible group). He shows steady and godly leadership and decision making in the many ways necessary to this role, and he leads the staff team with humility and love. GBU is an inter-denominational ministry with students from all kinds of different church backgrounds. It’s necessary to be wise and to be able to discern what issues are central to the gospel and to faithful ministry in the university. Through his initial studies with MOCLAM,1 and more recently at the CEP, Francisco has been trained and equipped to discern such issues from the Scriptures.

Francisco says “The CEP has allowed me to develop understanding of theology and doctrine, something that has helped me in the exercise of my role within an interdenominational organisation, where different expressions of faith coexist, and where I have needed to point to the teachings received. My studies in CEP have helped the way I approach biblical counselling, and have enabled me to be a model to other leaders who are part of the organisation where I serve.”

 

Nicolas, Assistant Pastor in Santiago

Another student from CEP with whom I have a close friendship is Nicolas Ojeda (‘Nico’). When we first arrived in Chile, Nico helped us as our language teacher. After a ministry apprenticeship and studying at CEP, Nico is now starting a new role as an assistant pastor in Santiago. Nico says: “CEP has been vital in many areas of my life. In particular, it has been important in my understanding of the Scriptures so that I can share the message of the gospel clearly and faithfully—in counselling, teaching courses, and in exposition in the Sunday gathering.”

 

God’s gracious work

Under God, CEP has been greatly used to train leaders for the church in Chile. CMS missionaries have been privileged to be involved in this work in many ways. We give great thanks for the ministry of CMS missionary Frances Cook, who recently finished serving in Chile, including with CEP, after more than 30 years. Our hope is that CEP will continue to train and form godly men and women to serve the gospel of the Lord Jesus in Latin America. Like all ministries, CEP is completely dependent on God’s gracious work. Will you join us in praying for the ministry of CEP?

 

PRAY

Thank God for the long-term partnership between CMS and CEP, and pray that it will continue to enable more gospel workers to be trained for the church in Latin America and beyond.