The Book of Order is part of my Presby­terian denomination's constitution. It includes rules, regulations and procedures for any situation that could happen in the life of our ecclesiastical family. We spend a fair amount of time amending, deleting, interpreting and rewriting the Order. Sometimes it gets in the way.

During a trip to Argentina I visited sister churches there and listened to stories about robust, growing and not very orderly Pentecostal churches. Then, in Buenos Aires, I received a phone call from a Pentecostal minister, the president of a theological seminary. Noting that my denomination has a deep historical commitment to theological education, he asked if I would meet with him and some of his colleagues. I said I'd be honored.

All the participants had day jobs, so it was 9 p.m. when he picked up my companions and me at the hotel and drove through the city into a grimy working-class neighborhood, then down a dark alley to an automobile repair garage. He ushered us past the equipment and upstairs to a small room with two bare lightbulbs. Six men, all pastors and seminary professors, sat around a table. After introductions, I asked, "Where is the seminary?" With a sweep of his hand, the president pointed to a wall of shelves filled with cassette-recording equipment and tapes. "This is it. This is our seminary."