to the pulpit
As senior pastor of Templo
Oásis in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Ruben Figueroa relies on
his training at Colegio Teológico del Caribe (Caribbean Theological
College) in Bayamon to lead his flock. And he’s going at his
own pace — three classes a semester — until his degree
in theology is completed in May.
“I was called to
be a senior pastor so I started studying,” says Figueroa,
39, who also earned a Certificate in Bible from the Spanish Eastern
District’s Bible Institute in 1994. “I knew I needed
to be more prepared for what was ahead of me.” Figueroa, who
was born in Puerto Rico, moved back to his homeland seven years
ago after serving as youth pastor at Iglesia Cristiana Ebenezer
A/G in Bay Shore, N.Y. He began pastoring Templo Oásis five
years ago. Figueroa says attending college in Puerto Rico is crucial
to his ministry.
“In Puerto Rico,
many people go to universities,” Figueroa says of Puerto Rico’s
culture. “We need to keep up with the demand of the society
we have here.”
Figueroa says the knowledge
he has gained as a CTC student and his years as a senior pastor
have been valuable.
“I have an advantage
over other students because I’ve been able to put into practice
what I learn right away,” says Figueroa, noting Templo Oásis
has grown from 38 to 132 active members in the last five years.
“When my professors teach me methods of teaching or church
administration, I put it to work right away and I’ve seen