Director for the Center for the Study of the Work and Ministry of the Holy Spirit Today Announced
After an extensive national search, Biola University has selected Oscar Merlo as the director for the Center for the Study of the Work and Ministry of the Holy Spirit Today, effective July 17.
Merlo will spearhead the launch of the center, funded by a major donation by a couple passionate about what the Holy Spirit will do through Biola students. As an academic center it will provide resources for a biblical examination of the person and ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, including research, publications, conferences, events and services for students.
“I believe this center will play a critical role in strengthening Biola University in the midst of the challenges we face in a rapidly changing, secularizing context,” said Barry H. Corey, Biola’s president. “We need to tap into the Spirit's power in our own campus and celebrate His movement in the wider world. Christian higher education demands not just intellectual development but spiritual formation, not just rational inquiry but supernatural encounter.”
In addition, the center will organize prayer initiatives, bring in global leaders and host student conferences, all to help raise a generation of students, which in the donor couple’s mind, “can change the world!”
“I praise God for this,” said Clint Arnold, dean of Talbot School of Theology, who will provide oversight for the center. “Oscar is excited about his new role and is full of ideas.”
In the last twenty years, Merlo has served in executive leadership positions for profit and nonprofit multinational institutions like Target Corporation, ConAgra Foods and, for the past decade, Alberto Mottesi Evangelistic Association (AMEA). He has traveled extensively to over 32 countries in five continents and experienced how God is powerfully at work in diverse places such as Cuba, Tel Aviv, Bissau, Istanbul, the mountains of the Dry Corridor in Guatemala, local communities in Los Angeles and other places in the global south.
As Executive Director of AMEA, one of the world’s largest Latino evangelistic associations, he was responsible for facilitating all global administration and operations of the institution. He also served as the dean of AMEA’s School of Evangelists, where he developed an academic program that today has expanded to 136 international centers throughout Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
Merlo received a double major in psychology/religion and philosophy from the University of La Verne in 2000. In 2004, he received an MBA with a concentration in Global Management from Phoenix University Graduate School. In 2015, he received an M.A. in Intercultural Studies, with a concentration in Ethics, from Fuller Seminary. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in intercultural studies at Fuller Seminary where he is exploring the aspirations of Millennial neo-Pentecostal Cubans, as well as the missiological themes emerging in the underground house church movement.
“Oscar’s expansive and diverse experience in global work and with diverse cultures makes him a great addition to the Biola community,” said Dr. Corey.
Merlo will serve as the leader of the center’s 10-year initiative, which will be housed on the middle floor of the Talbot East building.