June 16, 1999

Hispanic leaders from 11
countries gather at LifeWay session

___By Chip Alford
___LifeWay Christian Resources
___NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)-- Forty-one evangelical leaders and Christian book distributors from 11 countries and one U.S. territory attended the first international Hispanic trainers' meeting May 27-29 at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville.
___According to Luis Lopez, a consultant in LifeWay's international department, the
HISPANIC LEADERS, including Daniel Robayo of Venezuela, gathered at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville to be trained in discipleship, Sunday school and children's ministry.
purpose of the conference was to introduce Christian leaders in Spanish-speaking countries to the products and services offered by LifeWay and share ideas on how to use them in local churches. Training sessions focused on resources in three areas--discipleship, Sunday school and children's ministry.
___Conference participants included representatives from Puerto Rico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Guatemala, Venezuela, Mexico, Honduras, Spain, Peru, Venezuela and Ecuador.
___"We have so much demand for information about our resources, but there's no way we can reach church leaders in all these countries by ourselves," Lopez said, referring to LifeWay's 15-person international department staff. "But by bringing in these national leaders and training them, our hope is they will become 'multipliers.' We believe they will become trainers themselves in their own countries."
___Luis Aranguren, director of LifeWay's international department, said as many as a third of those trained at the conference will be used as consultants by LifeWay, leading resource and training conferences for the agency on an ongoing basis.
___"This conference represents our first organized, intentional step toward making a real impact in Latin America," Aranguren said. "It shows we're serious about being an international organization."
___Fanny Gutierriz, president of the Colombia Baptist Convention in Bogota, said many of the discipleship courses she heard about at the meeting address a real need in her country--leadership development.
___"I really believe that leadership is connected to discipleship," Gutierriz said, adding the LifeWay discipleship course, "Experiencing God," had been instrumental in her own growth as a Christian.
___Fabian Ruiz, director of Christian education for the Baptist Convention of Argentina, also praised "Experiencing God."
___He told of a woman in his church who became a Christian, but soon drifted from her faith in God. But after reading the trade book version of "Experiencing God," she told him: "I had not known God until now. But after reading this book, I've gotten to know him."
___"The authors of books like these probably have no idea the impact they are making around the world," Ruiz said.
___A key contribution of the LifeWay conference, Ruiz said, is that it equipped leaders to communicate to churches the value of the Christian materials and how they can be used to enhance ministry.
___"I'm amazed at God's hand in all of this," he said of the meeting. "So much of what we've been hearing about is exactly what our country needs. It's not a human thing. It's definitely the Holy Spirit in action."
___Gutierriz agreed, adding: "There's been a lot of value in what I've learned here. I can't wait to take this vision back to my country."
___Ted Warren, executive vice president and chief operating officer for LifeWay, described the meeting as "historic," adding it reflects LifeWay's new vision of providing biblical solutions that spiritually transform individuals and cultures.
___"There are a lot of people offering solutions to today's problems," he said, "but most are only temporary fixes. We're offering solutions from the Bible. Those are eternal."


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