In 2020, Biola’s Center for the Study of the Work and Ministry of the Holy Spirit Today (the Holy Spirit Center) discovered that pastors within the Los Angeles and Orange County area feel most lacking in ministry and leadership training. Equipping these ministers with training and resources is of top priority for reaching the heart of these churches.

Oscar Merlo, director of the Holy Spirit Center, recognized and desired to respond to this need.

“In this community, as soon as anyone accepts Jesus Christ, they begin preaching without training,” he said. This causes challenges in biblically grounded preaching of the gospel. Partnering with Biola LEARN, Merlo developed the Diplomado en Ministerio y Liderazgo — or Certificate in Ministry and Leadership — to revitalize Spanish-speaking ministry leaders and equip them to multiply leaders in their local contexts.

Taught by Talbot faculty and facilitated by cohort leaders, the diplomado offers affordable and practical ministry training that is also academically rigorous. The community-oriented model meets the needs of Hispanic communities, offering “orientation from the instructor, presence, and guidance for next steps.” The diplomado also serves as a first step for potential ministers toward future programs Talbot might offer.

This partnership between Merlo and Biola LEARN provides an opportunity for ministers to be equipped and nourished to live out the calling on their lives.

The diplomado is available for cohort-based learning as well as self-study at If you’re a pastor or ministry leader and are interested to learn more, email