We have served as Free Methodist missionaries since 1994 when we left Brazil through the Free Methodist Church’s Latin American partnership to work in Maturin, Venezuela. After working in Venezuela for 10 years, we were invited by Acts 12:24 Conference Superintendent David Harvey to come to New Jersey and work at the Eastern Christian Free Methodist Church in Jersey City and with Crossroads Free Methodist Church in Clifton where we were asked to plant a Hispanic congregation in the heart of Passaic County.
That is how Casa de Oracion, the Free Methodist church in Paterson, New Jersey, started nine years ago. In a multicultural area, we have a diverse congregation and many different Spanish backgrounds. Even though we all speak Spanish, we are learning how to understand the cultural differences.
The Casa de Oracion (House of Worship) Bible Institute was born with a desire to prepare our leaders and future pastors. With our Wesleyan-Arminian tradition, we will provide an integrated biblical vision for life through teachings based in the Scriptures. To prepare leaders and future pastors in our own institute gives us a privilege and an opportunity to participate in their lives. We see them grow weekly and share hours with students participating actively in their ministerial preparation.
This dream started to become a reality in 2012. Four years later, we had our first graduation at the end of April.
Our purpose is to train leaders who will be agents of transformation — building and expanding each church. Through the church, we will be the light in this world. We understand that God’s plan for the earth will be accomplished through the church. We need men and woman who will love and serve until Jesus Christ comes back.
Our partnership with the Bible Training Centre for Pastors and the Walk Thru the Bible ministry helped us to prepare a program, “Basis in Theology,” with 15 courses (680 hours). After that, the student may keep his or her education at Pillar College, which accepts our courses, and complete his or her career. Our vision is not only to reach out to people but also to disciple and prepare them in order to make them effective in their service to the Lord.
Classes include the Discipline of the Free Methodist Church (pre-core; 1 credit, 20 hours), Leadership: The Leader’s Vision (pre-core; 3 credits, 40 hours), Course for Pastors and Leaders (CPL) 1: Bible Study Method and Rules of Interpretation (3 credits, 40 hours), CPL 2: Old Testament Survey (4 credits, 60 hours), CPL 3: New Testament Survey (4 credits, 60 hours), CPL 4: Preaching Biblical Messages (4 credits, 60 hours), CPL 5: Bible Doctrine Survey (4 credits, 60 hours), CPL 6: Personal Spiritual Life (3 credits, 40 hours), CPL 7: Church Ministry/Administration/Education (3 credits, 40 hours), CPL 8: Teaching Principles and Methods (3 credits, 40 hours), CPL 9: Church History Survey (4 credits, 60 hours), CPL 10: Missions, Evangelism and Discipleship (4 credits, 60 hours), CPL 11: The Life and Theology of John Wesley (1 credit, 20 hours), CPL 12: Pastoral Care (2 credits, 30 hours) and CPL 12: General Psychology Applied to the Family (3 credits, 50 hours). The courses are worth a total of 46 credits.2