Raul Sanchez (AGTS ‘)
Current occupation: Assistant District Superintendent for the Central Pacific Ministry Network and lead pastor of Abundant Life Christian Church in Oakland, California
What brought you to Springfield?
I met Dr. Carol Taylor, president of Evangel University, at an AGTS gathering at General Council. I told her that I had been looking for a program through which to pursue my doctoral degree for three years, and she told me that AGTS had just the right program for me. She really encouraged me, and I decided to pursue my studies at AGTS.
When did you feel the call of God to pursue full-time ministry?
I was born in El Salvador, and came to the United States to pursue my dream of studying dentistry. However, God had other plans. I pursued full-time ministerial studies and committed to follow the Lord’s call on my life into full-time vocational ministry.
What was the benefit of pursuing an advanced degree at AGTS?
I was able to connect with great ministry leaders from around the nation and develop a network of life-long friends. We learned from each other and strengthened one another.
AGTS also allowed me to hone in on an area that had been on my heart – the spiritual health of our ministers. I earned an M.Div. degree with an emphasis in Pastoral Care and Counseling. I recognized that many ministers begin strong and within a few years, their effectiveness wanes as fissures of character issues begin to emerge. Instead of seeking help, they attempt to hide these issues. This is not effective.
I was able to take what I learned at AGTS and implement a year-long personal resiliency plan for our ministers whereby they can assess their strengths and weaknesses, address any issues early on, and work with a mentor to assist them in their pastoral journey.
What would you tell someone interested in pursuing a seminary education?
I would highly recommend a degree through AGTS. You will be given the opportunity to develop skills in practical ministry, as well as the ability to connect with and learn from fellow ministry leaders.
Specifically as Latino leaders, AGTS offers valuable training and ministerial development to strengthen your calling and further develop personal resilience that will empower you to lead effectively.