So Much Depends on Mission
With irregular breaks and a disregard for grammatical convention, these words paint a vivid picture that has stumped many a high school English student over the years. However, the poem comes to mind frequently whenever I consider something of critical importance to success. So much depends on … something simple, focused; something that guides decisions in the midst of all the activity around it.
Faculty Development in Service to the Mission of the School
For greatest impact, each theological school must discern and articulate its unique mission within the broader purpose of theological education in service to the Church and the Kingdom of God. This mission then guides the strategy of the school, for which the faculty is perhaps the most essential resource as the means of achieving institutional objectives. Therefore, faculty development should serve the mission of the school. The following draws on the examples and experience of the Vital Sustainability Initiative. While applicable across theological education in general, the article specifically addresses the needs and approach for schools located within the Majority World.
On the Shoulders of Giants: Traditioned Innovation and Leading Change
Leaders of theological schools in the Majority World stand on a rich heritage. The growth of theological education has followed the growth of the church, albeit more slowly. In most places, schools have benefi tted from the investment of missionaries and the legacy of Western higher education. However, current contextual realities, as well as the educational and economic pressures facing schools today, require a new vision and courageous leadership to bring about necessary change. The executive leader embraces the challenge to look to the horizon and chart a course toward the new destination. In doing so, she or he must often navigate the tension between the accepted historical approach and innovative ideas. Theological institutions, particularly those in the Majority World, feel these tensions acutely. They recognize that inherited models will not serve them well as they meet new challenges, but at the same time they strive for excellence and recognition within the Western systems.
Taking Action in a Context of Fragility and Volatility
Nearly two years ago, I sat around a table with several seminary presidents from around the world. The countries they represented were facing intense sociopolitical turmoil: one had recently emerged from a decades-long civil war; two were engaged in protracted military conflict with one another; one was confronting an influx of refugees displaced by civil war; one had made headlines for atrocities committed by an extremist group; another was facing government pressure that could limit foreign funding or even the involvement of expatriate faculty. The most stable nation represented around the table, next to my own, has since come under martial law. For many seminaries in the world, the normal context of theological education is one of fragility and volatility.
Context, Ideas, Dialogue – Shaping Theological Education
The InSights Journal exists because theological education plays a critical role in the growth and maturation of the global church. Theological schools provide the training ground for Christian leaders serving in the Church and society, as well bear a responsibility to think theologically and respond prophetically to critical issues. The Journal promotes discourse on what Edgar (2005) has described as the multiple dimensions of theological education: content, purpose, methods, ethos, contexts, and participants. As the Journal engages both theory and practice across this broad range of topics, three considerations serve as guideposts.
Reverse Innovation: In Search of Better Solutions than Best Practices
Necessity drives innovation. As the needs of the Church continue to change, as new theological questions emerge in new contexts, and as pressures increase on traditional delivery systems that have developed over hundreds of years, theological education is in need of innovation.
A Tectonic Shift: The Rapid Rise of PhD Programs at Evangelical Theological Schools in the Majority World
In recent years, the number of evangelical theological schools in the Majority World conferring the PhD has grown considerably. This article shares results from a survey of twenty-three schools conducted as part of the Doctoral Initiative sponsored by the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education. The results show a steep increase in program offerings and enrollment that will greatly affect faculty development in the Majority World in the coming decade. Implications for both Majority World and Western institutions are also discussed.
The Purpose of the Journal: For Such a Time as This
“For such a time as this.” When asked why we would start a new journal at this time, the answer may be found in Mordecai’s words to Esther: we hope that the Journal may, in fact, be just the right resource “for such a time as this.”