Caragua Baptist Seminary
Caragua and Development of the Caragua Baptist Seminary
The Caragua Baptist Seminary is devoted to providing seminary instruction to underserved Brazilian pastors and church leaders. The Seminary focuses on taking the instruction to pastors and church leaders that are not able to obtain formal seminary training because of fiscal constraints, as many are bi-vocational or from small churches. In some cases they are far removed from larger cities where formal seminaries exist. This mission work takes the seminary experience to those in need whether in rural and remote locations or in the confines of the largest city in South America, São Paulo. Ultimately our aim and God’s call for us is to equip saints in Brazil to proclaim truth, spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, and disciple believers.
The Seminary effort started in Caraguatatuba, a small coastal town 3 hours drive from São Paulo. However, God quickly moved to expand course development to a number of different locations in southern Brazil as indicated in the brief history provided below.
The concept of this seminary was birthed by independent missionary Alex Hensley and Dr. Derek Coleman, U.S. seminary instructor and pastor of Gardenside Baptist Church in Lexington, KY. Alex and his wife Barbara, supported by the church, had 15 years of experience developing mission points and engaged in hands-on mission work in both the states of Amazonia and São Paulo. Both Alex and Dr. Coleman saw that God was stirring and New Testament evangelical churches were developing at a phenomenal rate. It was also clear that God was raising up local pastors to shepherd. Consistent with first century churches, Brazilian evangelical churches, their pastors and leaders were and are struggling with the influx of prevailing culture, false religions, and spiritualism into the theology and doctrine of the evangelical church. It was from this need for the truth of the Bible that the concept for a mission work to take the seminary experience to these pastors and church leaders was born.
Several deacons and members of Gardenside Baptist Church in Lexingon KY., led by Dr. Jeff Stringer, developed Caragua Baptist Seminary, Inc. a 501(c)(3) non-profit to build and administer what is now known as Seminário Batista Caraguá. A trip to Brazil to determine the interest in developing an evangelically based seminary was conducted in the fall of 2013 with overwhelming interest by over 150 pastors indicating a thirst for the instruction in God’s word. The first course “Systematic Theology” was taught in Caraguatatuba in March of 2014.
God blessed this ministry from the start calling a significant number of Brazilian pastors and lay leaders to assist with promoting and facilitating classes in other locations spanning the entire state of São Paulo (the equivalent land area and span of Florida and Georgia combined). The Seminary’s network of regional Ambassadors, translators, and interpreters (Team Brazil) enables development of courses across this broad landscape. Further that has been significant interest to conduct courses outside of the state of São Paulo.
The Board of Directors of Caragua Baptist Seminary, Inc., Dr. Derek Coleman and our “Team Brazil” work to strategically assess and plan course development to maximize our impact in Brazil.