Representatives from more than 50 Bible colleges and theological institutions across South Asia gathered in Bangkok in October to review theological education needs in the region and launch a programme relevant to the needs of the emerging Church, especially in contexts of persecution. There were also delegates from the Former Soviet Union and Indonesia.
Discussion reviewed the troubling gaps in theological teaching provision and considered how online distance learning could help to meet training needs.
The conference, from 14-17 October, launched an initiative organised by Barnabas Fund’s Global Institute for Leadership Development (GILD), alongside the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life (OCRPL). A core focus was finalising the courses that will be used in theological education and grassroots training, and discussing how best to translate courses into local contexts.
College leaders and subject experts from six countries in South Asia have joined the new GILD network of theological institutions and will continue to work together on curriculum and online resources. New courses will also be developed on the intersection of Christianity with Hinduism, Buddhism, tribal religions, primal religions, Islam, and secular nationalism.
The GILD network is developing a new Bachelor of Ministry programme and a new grassroots level curriculum, called Shepherd’s Academy, which will deliver much-needed training for untrained pastors, Christian workers and church leaders working in areas where Christians are persecuted and marginalised.