Who We Are

Hispanic Leadership Initiative (HLI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit leadership development organization serving as God’s instrument in preparing Hispanic men and women for leadership in His Church, specifically the Presbyterian Church in America.

Our Vision: A culturally-diverse, missionally-driven Presbyterian Church in America embracing Hispanic communities with the transformational power of the gospel of Jesus Christ for the advancement of His Kingdom.

What We Do

By God’s grace and provision, through personal relationships and in active partnership with churches, institutions, and individuals within the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), Hispanic Leadership Initiative develops a pipeline of Hispanic leadership for the PCA by:


bicultural Hispanic men and women with high leadership potential,


these men and women to consider God’s call upon their life and how to best develop their gifts for His service,


these men and women in developing their gifts through theological education, ministry apprenticeships, training retreats, and personal relationships, and


these trained and qualified men and women into leadership within PCA churches and ministries using our connections with the presbyteries and church planting networks of the PCA.

Our Leadership

The leadership of HLI is comprised of both Anglo and Hispanic Teaching Elders, Elders, Deacons, and Women of the PCA. Many have mentored Hispanic men and women for leadership roles within PCA churches, and many have planted churches in the Hispanic neighborhoods of Dallas, San Antonio, and El Paso, TX, as well as other parts of the United States. Their understanding of the PCA, Hispanics, and their respective cultures, uniquely qualifies them to lead this vital ministry, and to assist the PCA in reaping this great harvest!

Gene Bowman
Executive Director
"God is calling us to prepare the next generation of leaders for His church, leaders who are culturally saavy, who are willing to challenge their communities with the truth of the gospel, and who, in turn, will prepare others for ministry."

Our Board

Manuel Padilla
Las Tierras Community Church
El Paso, TX
Victor Martinez
Associate Pastor,
Redeemer Presbyterian Church
San Antonio, TX
Jerry Gibson
Sr. Dir Missions,
Park Cities Presbyterian Church
Dallas, TX
Joe Duran
Trans. and Dist. Mgr,
Lear Corp.
El Paso, TX
Nancy Lopez
Cristo Rey Presbyterian Church
Dallas, TX
Ben Young
University Presbyterian Church
Las Cruces, NM
Josh Geiger
Pastor of Discipleship,
Pacific Crossroads Church
Los Angeles, CA
Ed Garza
Grace Presbyterian Church
McAllen, TX

Our History

Most ministries trace their beginnings to filling a need or a particular calling of God. The birth of Hispanic Leadership Initiative (HLI) is no different.

About nine years ago, Josh Geiger, planter of Cristo Rey Presbyterian Church in Dallas, TX, along with others in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), sensed the severe lack of trained Hispanic pastors and church planters in PCA churches. Through meetings with Bill Thomas, Executive Director of the Southwest Church Planting Network, and Curt Dobbs, former Director of Missions and Church Planting at Park Cities Presbyterian Church, Dallas, TX, the idea of HLI was born.

Soon, others such as Victor Martinez, Associate Pastor of Mission and Cultural Engagement at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, TX, and Manuel Padilla, planter and Pastor of Las Tierras Community Church in El Paso, TX, joined with Josh Geiger and Curt Dobbs to form the founding Board of HLI.

Over the past few years, and through God’s blessing and strategic partnerships with the PCA presbyteries, churches, and ministries, HLI has grown significantly. But we have only scratched the surface and look forward to see how God will lead us in serving the PCA in coming years!


  • Josh Geiger meets with Bill Thomas and Curt Dobbs to begin conversations about the need to work together to equip the PCA to reach the growing Hispanic population in the United States.
  • Ten PCA leaders from the Southwest met in San Antonio, TX, in November to flesh out ideas of how the work might be done. A vision statement is developed.
  • Curtis Castleberry becomes the first apprentice supported by this new movement, initiatially funded by the Southwest Church Planting Network, and later by HLI.
  • HLI officially organizes as a Texas corporation, with Josh Geiger as President, Victor Martinez as Vice-President, Curt Dobbs as V.P./Secretary, and Manuel Padilla as Treasurer.

    HLI hosts its first leadership retreat at T-Bar-M Resort in New Braunfels, TX.
  • HLI is officially approved by the IRS as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charity.

    Gene Bowman is hired as HLI's first Executive Director. Curt Dobbs retires from the board, and Jerry Gibson takes his place.

    HLI hosts its second leadership retreat at T-Bar-M Resort in New Braunfels, TX.
  • HLI hosts its first Women's Leadership Conference at University PC, Las Cruces, NM, led by Nancy Lopez of Cristo Rey PC in Dallas.

    Joe Duran, Nancy Lopez, and Ben Young join the HLI Board.

    HLI hosts its third leadership retreat at T-Bar-M Resort in New Braunfels, TX.

    Cesar Restrepo becomes the second HLI Apprentice, beginning a two-year apprenticeship.
  • Raul Bermudez is approved as the third HLI Apprentice, serving a one-year apprnticeship.

    HLI hosts its first Vivo Conference with keynote speakers Richard Pratt and Victor Martinez.

    Ed Garza becomes the eighth HLI Board member.
  • HLI joins partnership with Mission to North America (MNA) and Las Tierras Community Church (El Paso, TX), utilizing support from MNA's Antioch Fund to hire Jeff White as Leadership Development Director in El Paso.

    Curtis Castleberry, Raul Bermudez and Cesar Restrepo complete their apprenticeships.

    Eva Castillo becomes HLI's fourth and first female apprentice, beginning a two-year apprenticeship.

    HLIConnect is developed for recruiting and launching Hispanic leaders.

    HLI hosts its fourth leadership retreat at T-Bar-M Resort in New Braunfels, TX.
  • HLI launches the HLI Leadership Training Network