Latin America Theological Association (09/08)

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By Gayle Grisbee

The executive committee of ATAL (Asociación Teológica de América Latina) had the privilege of meeting together this month. We were invited by the Asia Pacific Theological Association to be a part of their General Assembly held September 8-12 in Singapore.  Since we had patterned our accreditation and certification standards on their model, we were blessed to see how their program operates and to network with both leaders and participants of their association.

Following the APTA General Assembly, we also had the privilege of taking part in an historic meeting of the representatives of the regional theological associations of AGWM around the world to write a proposal to present to the World Pentecostal Fellowship to consider the formation of an overseeing body as a covering for the various regional accrediting associations.  This document will be given to John Bueno and George Wood for presentation from the Assemblies of God, USA, to the WPF for their consideration in the next meeting of that body. 

As you may know, the recognition of Pentecostal schools by non-Pentecostal accrediting agencies has been quite a struggle.  Besides the effort to formalize the recognition of our Bible Schools of the Assemblies of God in Latin America, ATAL has the responsibility of maintaining the Pentecostal perspective of our institutions. So, the covering provided by a respected, established worldwide Pentecostal body will be a great blessing as well as give more credibility to our program.   Please be in prayer for this initiative.

Nancy and I just completed our year of itineration and have returned to South Florida.  I am now gearing up for the task before me as President of ATAL and also as Academic Dean for ISUM.  I wish to thank Sam Balius for his help as an advisor during these past two years in making the transition into this office.  Needless to say, without his experience and expertise, ATAL would not be where it is today.

There are many elements of ATAL which have not been implemented up to this point.  Part of the reason is a lack of finances. The other part is the lack of personnel.  Because of this, Sam has not been able to launch the promotion of ATAL.  I must confess that I am in no better condition economically nor with personnel than Sam, but I will do what I can to get the program launched over the next few months.  We need your prayers and help in this matter as well.

The executive committee is currently reviewing the ATAL documents that have been drawn up. We will be making some modifications to improve the clarity of thought and expression caused by poor translation from the original source documents upon which they are modeled. We will also update the contact information. Those modifications will be presented in the Triennial meeting of SEC next year for their acceptance.

As part of ACLAME, I invite you to familiarize yourself with the program and documents of ATAL by going to our website at  You will be key figures in promoting ATAL throughout the region.  In a few weeks, we will have the forms posted on the website for membership in the program.  Please download them and start talking with your educator friends throughout Latin America, encouraging them to join with us in the process of evaluating and upgrading our performance in leadership training in the region. 

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.  I look forward to working together to improve our process of preparing leaders from Latin America for the worldwide harvest.

Gayle Grisbee serves as president of ATAL that serves the 20 Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.