Impacting a Nation Through Theological Education

“Be careful what you teach in class on Wednesday, because it probably will be preached in church on Sunday.” That’s what my mentor, Dr. Gene Green, warned me, before I first began teaching in Colombia. A former Latin American seminary president, he knew what he was talking about…seminary students very often take their sermons directly from what they learned in class that week. But Dr. Green undersold what a legion of churches and ministries and audiences that theological education impacts. So let me introduce you to some of the students I get to teach at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia (FUSBC).

WilcarWilcar is a Venezuelan who left an engineering career in his home country to come study theology at FUSBC. He aced my classes in Synoptic Gospels and Acts, works as my teacher’s assistant, and has recently been appointed the pastor of a new Baptist church just south of Medellín.

HanzHanz, our seminary’s former student body president, is a Lutheran, and just finished my class on Faith and Science. Even though he has not yet graduated, this talented and charismatic man is already actively training pastors through one of FUSBC’s extension programs: the Ministerial Institute of Medellín.

JenniferJennifer took Synoptic Gospels with me. Wife and mother of two, she also runs the children’s ministry at her church, Iglesia Cristiana Monte del Rey, and writes monthly articles for their evangelistic magazine.


GiovannyGiovanny was a pastor with the Confraternidad denomination and came to the seminary for more formal training. Although he is a widower and a single father, Giovanny continues to pastor, and every week he goes into the notorious Bella Vista Prison to teach Scripture and life skills to the inmates.

Alejandro and AndreaAlejandro and Andrea studied Gospels and Acts with me, all the while working as the Directors of Young Life for all of Colombia. As Alejandro completes his studies, he is discipling numerous younger seminarians and flying back and forth to Bogotá to manage a nation-wide ministry.

David Eduardo left a career as a chemical engineer to plant a church in Comuna 6, where he ministers to families in a context of oppressive drugs, gangs, and domestic violence. In spite of the fact that he hadn’t taken my prerequisite New Testament Introduction class, David ventured to take my grueling Synoptic Gospels course, and because he is whip smart and ultra-disciplined, he excelled.

PaolaPaola came to live with her older sister in the seminary before she was university age, owing to domestic conflicts, but enrolled just as soon as she finished high-school. She’s a second-year student, and in addition to studying, she serves in the music ministry in her local church and also works in a youth ministry in a dangerous neighborhood (barrio de invasión) on the outskirts of the city.

This is just a sample of the sorts of students we get to teach at FUSBC. They don’t come here because their parents are making them go to university. They don’t do it because they want to live in an idyllic and beautiful setting. They don’t do it because it is easy. They all are actively involved in ministry even while they study. And they spread out among all the major denominations of Colombia, distinguishing themselves as the best-educated and best-trained leaders in their communities. It is nothing short of a privilege to work with them, especially because teaching these students has an immediate impact in numerous pulpits and congregations, in major parachurch organizations, and in the prisons and the most dangerous neighborhoods of this massive city.

Of course, if you are a theologian with a PhD, teaching may not be your only passion; chances you are want to do cutting-edge theological research, speak in conferences, and publish books. And you can do that at FUSBC. The seminary recognizes that its future as a university requires the production of scholarly literature, and so they allot a major portion of time so that their professors with doctorates can continue to write about the subjects that impassion them. Likewise, we are in the midst of a major research project on the humanitarian crisis of forced internal displacement in Colombia. We have teamed up with economists, psychologists, sociologists, NGOs, pastors and community leaders for a major three-year research project in a half a dozen different locations in Colombia, with the goal of mobilizing the local churches to be agents of justice and restoration in their communities. Far from marking the end of my academic career, being a missionary professor at FUSBC has accelerated my research far beyond what I could have imagined. Being a scholar in this environment is nothing short of thrilling.

FUSBC’s ministry works—it works great—and as a result, our student body is growing. So we need more professors, serious theologians with a passion to see academic rigor galvanize a myriad of ministries in some of the hardest quarters of Latin America.

By: Dr. Christopher Hays, Serving in Colombia