I have some important news to share that may catch you by surprise. Nazarene Theological Seminary (NTS) is going global. When I say NTS serves the whole church, it is not “so much” presidential hyperbole. We do not have regional boundaries; nor are we limited by national borders. To quote a rather famous visionary “the world is our parish.”
Globalization within the Church of the Nazarene has created a desperate need for leadership development and theological coherence. NTS finds herself at the convergence of these two critical issues. We are a theological school in the Wesleyan/Holiness tradition. And we are a leadership development school for the Church of the Nazarene.
A few days ago I had a conversation with my friend Tom about this issue. He said, “I’ve been reminded of the importance of clergy leadership development while observing the US Naval Academy close by. While the Midshipmen are college students working toward a degree, the entire experience is to prepare them for leadership. How much more important is it for clergy to be recruited and trained for leadership? Your (NTS’s) interest in recruiting, spending time with, and making resources available to potential leaders is very much needed. This is being done regularly within corporations, the military, and other sectors of society. We need our seminary to be training clergy leaders for the church.”
Here are a few of the ways NTS is making a global impact:
Leaders from the Mesoamerica and South America regions have invited NTS to offer the Doctor of Ministry degree (DMin) for a second time in Latin America. This program will begin in September 2012, including students from Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.
Additionally, leaders from the Africa region have invited NTS to offer the Doctor of Ministry degree for African pastors and educators. We hope to begin this program in March 2013, equipping high potential leaders across the great continent of Africa.
365m (365 Days in Mission) is a contextual educational program which places NTS students in a cross-cultural context where they can learn from within the culture in which they are serving. Each student is given advanced training, as well as a mentor for his or her entire experience. NTS students have served and are serving in Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, East Asia (a creative access country), Kenya, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland (Great Britain), and very soon in the urban core of New York City.
Finally, I am very excited about the ongoing work of the Nazarene Global Consortium of Graduate Schools of Theology – a collaboration of seven Nazarene theological graduate schools. The Global Consortium’s purpose is to connect Nazarene seminaries by optimizing the global resources available for theological education. This very unique partnership includes Africa Nazarene University (Kenya), Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary (Philippines), Korea Nazarene University (South Korea), Nazarene Theological College, Brisbane (Australia), Nazarene Theological College, Manchester (England), Seminario Nazareno de las Americas (Costa Rica), and NTS. This summer NTS is privileged to host the presidents and academic deans from each of these schools for four days on our campus. The alliance of global theological educators provides the potential of a theological coherence in the Church of the Nazarene like we have never experienced before.
When we consider these Doctor of Ministry (DMin) initiatives, and that we also have other international students in our Kansas City-based DMin program, NTS currently has DMin students being trained in all six regions of the Church of the Nazarene. Furthermore, five of the six regions are represented in 365m, and five of the six are also involved in the Global Consortium. In short, the influence of NTS is profoundly global in scope and impact!
More pastors, and better pastors, globally! That is a grand enough project to get me up in the morning.
Grace and peace,