Implementing a generally accessible and sustainable training model among indigenous pastors in Mexico's Oaxaca State
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ABSTRACT IMPLEMENTING A GENERALLY ACCESSIBLE AND SUSTAINABLE TRAINING MODEL AMONG INDIGENOUS PASTORS IN MEXICO’S OAXACA STATE Anthony Lynn Steele, D.Miss. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2016 Chair: Dr. M. David Sills Oaxaca is perhaps the most diverse state in the nation of Mexico in terms of ethnicity with 16 ethnolinguistic groups and 173 distinct dialects of indigenous languages. The terrain of Oaxaca is rugged and makes travel a challenge in many parts of the state. Oaxaca has communities that are within sight of one another yet are hours of driving time between. These factors and others make it a difficult task for missionaries to provide training for pastors and leaders in remote communities. This dissertation seeks to explore manners to provide theological training to these leaders in the face of such challenges. Through a survey of the history of Oaxaca, methods of pastor training, both theoretical and those that have been attempted in the state, this research seeks to evaluate the approaches to training that fit within the context of Oaxaca and make recommendations for missionary practices in the region going forward. Chapter 1 introduces the context of Oaxaca state and the aims of the research project. The challenges of doing pastor training and making disciples in this region of the world are presented. Steele spells out the methodology of the research and his plan for evaluating the results. Chapter 2 discusses the history of Mexico in general and Oaxaca in particular. Through a survey of history from the times of pre-conquest Mexico to present-day developments among evangelicals in Mexico, this history provides a background for the challenges and needs for pastor training in Oaxaca. Chapter 3 provides a discussion of the relationship between pastor training and discipleship from a biblical and practical standpoint. The goals of pastor training and their relationship to the biblical models of making disciples are surveyed and evaluated. Chapter 4 presents the results of a recent training project in which a survey of the New Testament was taught. Using an instrument to evaluate the effectiveness of the course, results of the training are evaluated. The chapter also presents the results of a number of interviews with missionaries in Oaxaca who currently do pastor training in the region. Chapter 5 provides a summary of the findings. It also presents conclusions and recommendations for those doing pastor training in Oaxaca.