Rev. Rubén Ortiz has served in urban ministry for 30 years. His professional emphasis has been in Leadership Development, Youth Ministry, Church Planting, and Community Development.
He is Director of National Programs at Esperanza College, administering a network of mentoring programs, a Bible Engagement effort with the American Bible Society and other initiatives. He oversees the Barrio Youth Initiative which includes the development and management of the the Christian Ministry degree program with an emphasis in Youth Ministry in partnership with Esperanza College of Eastern University. Previous to this he was Director of Hispanic Engagement for the national headquarters of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. In that role he drove the expansion of Latino mentoring to over 200 of BBBSA’s 345 agencies. He led volunteer recruitment strategies and partnerships within Hispanic communities.
Rev. Ortiz served as City Coordinator for the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative in Philadelphia. In this role he led a cohort of Pastors and Youth Ministers through an intensive training, developing communities of practice, and mentoring. He planted Iglesia Del Barrio (IDB) and served as its Senior Pastor for 10 years. IDB is a bi-lingual church in the West-Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. During part of this time he was a Project Director at Esperanza, directly responsible for helping build the capacity of over 100 faith and community based organizations. He managed Communities United to Empower Youth, a program to prevent gang activity, reduce youth violence, child abuse and neglect. Throughout the years he has leveraged over $2 million in small grants to churches and community groups. Prior to joining Esperanza, he worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania helping to design and implement AMACHI, a national mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents. He entered full-time ministry in 1996 as a Project Director with the Philadelphia Project for Youth Ministry, a ministry of KingdomWorks, a unique Christian organization that empowered inner-city churches to reach out to children and youth. Rev. Ortiz helped spin this ministry off as the Center for Transforming Mission (now called Street Psalms), an accredited international institute that trains grassroots leaders to serve high-risk youth and families living in tough urban environments such as Bucharest, Camden, Guatemala City, Nairobi, Santo Domingo, and others.
Rev. Ortiz is a Master’s of Theology candidate at Palmer Theological Seminary (expected January 2018). He is Chairman of Timoteo Inc.’s Board of Directors. He is Executive Director of Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity. He served on the African American and Latino Male Dropout Taskforce at the School District of Philadelphia. He served on the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership. He was a Big Brother for 9 years. He has written articles for Shout and Conspire Magazines. He was served by the City Council of Philadelphia a citation in 1996 as Citizen of the Year. He was born and raised in Philadelphia and continues to minister there with his wife of 27 years. Together they have three children.