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This book meets a definite need for theological education in Latin America.”

Paul Wright is a missionary, an educator, and a recent contributor to a book that he hopes will make a far-reaching impact on theological education in Latin America. The title of the book, translated to English, is The Hand at the Helm: A Guidebook for Seminary Board Members.  

Paul graduated from Calvary in 1977 with a BA in Pastoral Ministries and later went on to earn a Master of Arts in Theological Education (‘CU 1981) and a PhD in Theological Education from the Central American Theological Seminary. Paul stated that much of what he learned from his education at Calvary prepared him for pastoral ministry:  

Calvary was a major milestone in my ministerial and personal formation. What I learned at Calvary University I am still to this day putting into practice in my own ministry!” 

After Paul married his wife, Beth, they moved to Argentina in 1983 and began church planting in several locations. Avant Ministries’ first mission for Paul was to restore a dying church. By God’s grace, this mission was fulfilled, and after several years, he was able to leave the church in the hands of Argentine pastoral leadership. Paul has been heavily involved in theological education ever since. 

In 1997, Paul and three other pastors in Mendoza, Argentina, decided to take on the enormous task of establishing a Bible Institute: 

We founded the institution to equip people for ministerial leadership, and we’ve been building it for twenty-six years.” 

Paul admitted that he and his team did not know what they were getting into when they decided to start a Bible Institute. It proved to be a more complicated process than they had ever imagined—but rewarding, nonetheless. During Paul’s years of service as both a teacher and an administrative leader, he has been focused on equipping his students for leadership and academic teaching.  

One of Paul and his team’s recent missions for their Bible Institute was to publish The Hand at the Helm; interestingly, Paul stated that the impetus of the book was largely based on his own experience: 

“Many times, those who come from seminaries or Bible Institutes have some experience serving at a church or working in business, but they often have no experience in theological education. A seminary or a Bible Institute is its own class. Its structure is similar to that of a church, school, and business. It takes someone who knows how to fuse all of these together to get a Bible Institute off the ground.” 

Paul and his team collaborated with a group of graduates of the PhD program at Central American Theological Seminary to start writing the book. There are nine contributors in all. The knowledge Paul and his team gained from their doctoral programs combined with the years of hands-on experience they acquired in theological education helped them put together a book that serves as a manual for seminary and institute board members. 

Paul went on to make a point that in the U.S., there are several books accessible for church planting. However, The Hand at the Helm is the only available source he knows of for those in Latin America: 

This meets a tremendous need in Latin America, and we are in the process of getting our book into the hands of people who need it, like seminary participants, deans, board members, or those who have leadership roles to fill in theological education. There are a great many institutes and seminaries all over Latin America that can use this book.”  

As chairman of the editorial committee, Paul and his team are busy coming up with new ideas to help minister to Latin America. They have already started another writing project centered on servant leadership and discipleship. They were able to undertake this project because God blessed them with donations that far exceeded what they asked for to publish The Hand at the Helm.  

If you are interested in learning more about Paul and Beth’s ministry, click here!