In mid July 2007, over a thousand pastors and leaders from all over Colombia gathered in Sincelejo, Colombia, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of CIPEP (Corporación Instituto para la Educación Pastoral).
I hold CIPEP very close to my heart, as at the beginning of the 80’s, seeing that many of the pastors and students were not capable of doing the higher level courses that we were offering them through FLET, I timidly suggested they use SEAN basic level courses for students who were not up to the FLET standards.
The result has been quite wonderful!
Using mainly their own resources, they have structured a brilliant TEE programme that has lasted 25 years and is still growing. It goes from the very basic level, right up to a Seminary degree. Every year over 3500 students, from 60 denominations train for ministry with them. SEAN courses are the basis for the first five levels of this diagram:
In spite of the political turmoil and terrorism that has blighted Colombia over the past years, CIPEP has spread out over the whole country with over 60 centres and more than 300 study groups - all hubbing with a central office manned by a team of only six full time workers.
Their programme has been so successful that now, all their certificates and degrees are officially recognized by the Ministry of Education of Colombia.
But for me, the greatest blessing of all and for what Theological Education should be all about, is that the AIEC (the Association of Evangelical Churches of the Caribbean), CIPEP’s mother denomination has grown over the past 25 years from 280 churches to the latest count of 754! Church membership has grown from 10.000 to 55.000, and church attendance for the Sunday morning service has grown from 28.000 to 110.000!
So, to God be the glory, and again… congratulations CIPEP! Keep up the good work!
Terrick J. Barratt
SEAN – International Director