J. Omar Palafox
Hola! My name is J. Omar Palafox, and I’m a Mexican missionary from Guadalajara. I currently serve as the vice-chair with the GST Governing Board encouraging the conversation about ACU’s Hispanic initiatives. I am an advocate for Hispanic theological education and influencer for change in Latino theological thought. My vision is to create a community for contributing, collaborating, and conversing among the churches and ministers in the United States as well as in Latin America with ACU’s legacy.
I am married to Tana, and together we have two children, Emma and Maicah. Our children keep us very busy with their teenage years. I am a Marvel comics, Hulk, and soccer fan. My education has impacted me by challenging and stretching me to see God’s presence in new places. It has been a spiritual road with theological reflection. I joyfully see the fruit of many years of hard work, both academically and practically.
I was a missionary for over a decade in Mexico, where we planted churches and fostered leadership. My favorite quote is, ‘Do not pray for lighter burdens, but stronger backs.’ I’ve seen this play out in my life, family, and service. If I had to advise people considering seminary education, I would use this phrase to challenge and encourage them to spirituality in prayer and also to discern the type of people needed in God’s Kingdom for missionary work.
I hold a bachelor’s degree in Bible and a master’s in ministry from Lubbock Christian University, and a Master of Divinity from Abilene Christian University. Today I am a DIS candidate in intercultural studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. My research at Fuller is in the interdependency of missionaries in spiritual formation for well-being. Education has been the medium in which God molded me in community.
I have been a mentor, teacher, coach, and disciple-maker in Latin America and the United States. I have taught at Lubbock Christian University as an adjunct professor, as well as Abilene Christian University. In addition to this, I have taught the Old Testament with the Texas International Bible Institute (TIBI) online for undergraduate students. Currently, I am teaching in the Red de Institutos Biblicos (RIB) spiritual formation to the first graduate school of theology in Spanish online, reaching Latin America.
My ministries include the expansion of ASHREI (a resource network for spiritual formation), a world language professor at Lubbock high school, and minister at the Colgate Bilingual Church of Christ. In this ministry, my contexts are multifaceted and multilayered at the same time. This is my favorite part of the ministry because I can see the diversity of God’s people in his Kingdom of light.
I am increasing the reach of Ashrei throughout Latin America through the use of technological platforms, social media, and as a connector to theological associations and schools where spiritual formation is pursued. Inspiring rising voices from Latin America, I am prompting original content contributors of Latin Americans writing about spiritual formation.
As a member of the Association for Hispanic Theological Education (AETH), I have advocated efforts of collaboration among persons and institutions from the Churches of Christ to share with other traditions and to commit with the formation of leaders for the Hispanic and Latino church. Also, I participate with the network of theological entities (RedET) to continue to share experiences and knowledge to identify, envision, and innovate methodological and organizational alternatives so that institutions and organizations are channels of service and signs of the Kingdom of God among Latinos. I am dedicated to the theological formation of leaders for the service to the Hispanic-Latino communities. I love it. Please pray for these initiatives and join us on the journey.