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New online platform developed for Spanish-speaking pastors

‘1001’ partnership makes Cíclica Express available to PC(USA) church planters and worshiping community leaders

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

Jaime Lázaro

LOUISVILLE — When Jaime Lázaro was looking for Commissioned Ruling Elder (CRE) education in Spanish so that he could become a commissioned new worshiping community leader in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), he couldn’t find the polity course he needed for ordination. Knowing it was a need for several candidates in Southern California — and in all likelihood around the country — he and Martín García believed that God was calling them to do something about it.

The two co-directors of  Cíclica, a network of cohort groups of Latino pastors and church planters in Southern California, had already been discussing how they might expand the network’s offerings. Their desire was to share non-traditional tools with Spanish-speaking leaders who are starting new churches in the U.S. and globally with help from 1001 New Worshiping Communities, with whom they’ve been working in various areas.

Last fall, months before the pandemic hit, one of the pastors in a Cíclica cohort group began experimenting with starting an online portion for his church. Lázaro and García began working on a new online learning platform, which they called Cíclica Express.

“That was God preparing us,” García said. As they’ve done over the past five years in their cohort groups, they began modifying what became part of Cíclica Express by including a session on how to start an online or hybrid church.

The learning platform, which Lázaro said “is interactive, social and easily accessible,” features two initial courses.  One is on “Presbyterian history, theology, government and worship,” which could satisfy CRE requirements, he said. The other is called “Cíclica Express,” a 12-week course on church planting and revitalization.

“Both courses are important, because some of our church planters want to be part of the PC(USA),” García said. “The Presbyterian class is now available in Spanish and will help them continue their ordination process. “

Martín García

He said the Cíclica Express course provides a space for Latino church pastors and planters with new paradigms and fresh ideas to start new churches and revitalize those that have stalled in their efforts to reach their community.

“With Cíclica Express we want to reach every last corner so that church planters who don’t have access to face-to-face groups can receive the teachings,” Lázaro said.

1001 New Worshiping Communities partnered with Cíclica Express, paying for a licensing fee up front which helped Cíclica develop the online training courses. The Rev. Sean Chow, 1001 director of training and leadership cohorts, said this online teaching platform will help address the diverse needs of the Spanish- speaking church.

“Over the past couple of years, we have seen the increase of new worshiping communities that are more diverse, and this includes language,” he said. “It is vital that we simply do not translate curriculum into other languages, but have it developed and overseen by leaders of various ethnicities who understand the culture and have the right meaning behind it.”

1001 national coordinator the Rev. Nikki Collins said the entire team is excited to partner with NWC leaders across the church. While this partnership will help sustain and strengthen Spanish-speaking ministries, she believes it will also help enrich and enliven the whole church “as we learn from each other how the Spirit is calling us into the future,” she said.

The 1001 team is working on a similar online training platform in English called the NWC Accelerator, which will have a virtual component since in-person gatherings aren’t currently possible. The online NWC Accelerator first small group, which will be facilitated by 1001 NWC staff and coaches, will launch in October.

The online platform for Spanish-speaking pastors is now live at Cíclica. You must register to have access to the content. New worshiping community leaders interested in the polity course platform should contact Jaime Lázaro or  Martín García

 NWC leaders interested in using the online NWC Accelerator, which is not intended for individual use, but alongside a group of peers working together with a coach, should contact Sean Chow.


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