September 29, 1999

Howard Payne University:
Hispanic partnership strengthens churches

___A desire to offer training for area ministers led to the founding of Howard Payne University more than a century ago. As we celebrate HPU's 110th anniversary this year, I am thankful for John David Robnett and his vision and commitment to make his dream a reality.
___Through the years, HPU has remained true to its mission. We continue to educate men

and women for places of Christian service around the world, and we have a special calling to meet Texas needs.
___In recent years, Rudy Camacho, president of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas and a former student at Howard Payne, shared with us the need for Hispanic church leadership in our state.
___Those who work with Hispanic churches tell us of the need for training pastors and lay people. For these churches to survive, church leaders must be equipped in theology, Baptist doctrine and church leadership.
___Unfortunately, since the majority of these church leaders are bivocational, they cannot attend a college full-time.
___For many years, Howard Payne has provided a ministry training program in Corpus Christi and El Paso.
___In the fall of 1998, we offered the first courses leading to the Certificate in Ministry and Lay Leadership Development. A primary focus of this program is to provide training in areas where theological education is not readily available. In addition to Corpus Christi and El Paso, we offer the certificate in Laredo, Harlingen, San Angelo, Midland and Granbury.
___The certificate program is designed for individuals in full-time or bivocational ministry and for those who serve in lay ministry. Courses are taken for credit and may be applied to a baccalaureate degree at HPU.
___Among our many graduates are BGCT leaders Jimmy Garcia, coordinator of ethnic missions, Michael Gonzales, ethnic evangelism consultant, and Rudy Sanchez, former president of the Hispanic Baptist Convention.
___HPU graduates also are leaders in education. Joshua Grijalva, former president of Hispanic Baptist Theological Seminary, and Daniel Sanchez, professor at Southwestern Seminary, are two examples.
___The influence of Hispanic graduates has been felt all around the world. These include, among others, evangelist Rudy Hernandez; Oscar Romo, who served many years with the Home Mission Board; and Juan Andrade, founder and president of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute.
___HPU is thankful for the cooperative spirit among Hispanics and all Texas Baptists. We have been blessed to have leaders serving throughout our state and the world. One of our desires as a university is to continue to find new ways to meet educational needs.
___Please pray for us as we follow God's direction in the days ahead.


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