Silva offered scholarship to continue religious education
CLASS OF 2018
Wayland senior Manny Silva is wrapping up his undergraduate degree this semester, but plans to continue his education into spiritual formation thanks to the Texas Hispanic Baptist Convention scholarship to George W. Truett Seminary at Baylor University. Silva is the first recipient of the scholarship that recognizes Hispanics who are committed to education and called to the ministry.
The scholarship offers full tuition for the 93-hour Master of Divinity program. Silva was required to have at least a 3.25 grade point average and have a desire to work with Baptist churches and ministry programs which is exactly what Silva hopes to do.
“I feel a calling toward church planting and church development,” he said.
Silva’s parents, John and Sara Silva, and an aunt and uncle, Rodney and Sarah Wallace, all attended Wayland, and although Manny searched other colleges and universities, he felt that Wayland was the place he needed to be as well.
“It’s always been in the family,” Silva said. “I saw (other schools), but I felt like Wayland was a good mix of what I was looking for.”
Silva planned to major in justice administration and minor in religious education, but it wasn’t long before he flipped his academic focus, finding a true passion for spiritual formation.
“The first two years, I was doing more of my religious education classes and I was more passionate about those than my justice admin classes,” he said. “It was the spiritual development of the individual and moving on to helping others develop spiritually … I really enjoyed that.”
Focusing on each person’s individual identity within Christ and how that identity grows and changes through Biblical text and education drew Silva deeper into his academic studies. It also helped him to grow personally and develop a deeper understanding of his own relationship with God.
“I thought I knew a lot. Then, coming to Wayland and figuring out that I pretty much knew nothing. … It was very humbling,” Silva said.
While at Wayland, Silva said he has been continually challenged to look at his relationship with God in different ways and to seek the advice of mentors. And while he wants his education to prepare him for his life after school, he also embraces the personal growth that comes with it.
“Just being able to apply my faith to my studies is what I’ve enjoyed most,” he said.
Silva has applied his faith to more than his studies as he has been an active member in Baptist Student Ministries and work with youth at First Baptist Church during his time at Wayland. He will graduate in May and move on to Truett Seminary for his MDiv and then hopes to focus on church development, helping smaller congregations find the best ways to grow and expand their programs within their communities. Silva said he has had the opportunity to work with his dad who is a church planter with Texas Baptists, and he wants to take those opportunities a step farther.
“I would like to work with already established churches that are kind of struggling and help bring them back to life,” Silva said. “There are a lot of churches that have already been planted, but don’t know what to do next. I want to help them develop a new vision.”