One of the greatest challenges and opportunities, with regards to mission work today, is the training of pastors and leaders for ministry. Throughout the world, people are responding to the gospel. Many of these new believers live in communities with no evangelical churches, and countless pastors of churches that do exist have little to no theological training.
Seeing both the challenge and opportunity presented by the lack of theological training throughout the world, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has established contact with multiple Baptist Seminaries around the world through a program called Global Theological Innovation (GTI).
GTI has discovered that many of these schools and their leaders are looking to establish partnerships that will empower their schools to offer theological education to their communities and countries by raising the level of training of their professors, better equipping their students for ministry, and improving their technological capabilities, among other efforts.
As a part of these partnerships, GTI partners with schools to review their curriculum, sends SWBTS professors and SBC pastors to teach courses in these seminaries, and trains faculty members. GTI also seeks to engage missions-minded SBC churches to partner with international Baptist seminaries as a “Champion Church.” Champion Churches are mission-minded, Southern Baptist congregations that are willing to engage in a five-year relationship with Southwestern and one of our Baptist seminaries overseas. This collaboration involves ongoing leadership development and a project-based plan of ministry created in direct cooperation with the international seminary partner. The ultimate goal of this partnership is to better equip our seminary partners in the task of preparing men and women to serve Christ through the local church in keeping with their individual ministry calling.
GTI has also discovered that these international seminaries are eager to network with other Baptist seminaries around the world. To that end Southwestern is helping to establish a Global Consortium of Baptist Theological Seminaries. GTI is also developing an internet portal through which the consortium will provide, free of charge, a platform for communication (including email lists, video instruction, inter-institutional online dialogue, etc.) a cache of electronic resources (digital libraries, curriculum, open-source educational software and other media) and technical assistance in the development of online theological education using open-source software such as Moodle, Edmodo, etc. GTI is also assisting our partner institutions in the development of best practices in curriculum enhancement, the use of internet technology in theological education and the expansion of training through extensions developed in partnership with the local church.
The Spring 2015 issue of the Southwestern News Magazine features how GTI is working all across the world.