GTI formalizes partnership with South Asian seminary, 2 Champion Churches
Southwestern Seminary’s Patterson Center for Global Theological Innovation (GTI) has formalized a new partnership with a seminary in South Asia and two Champion Churches. Representatives from each of these four institutions signed documents confirming the partnership during Southwestern’s chapel service, Aug. 30.
The South Asian seminary is Alpha College of Theological Studies (ACTS), which was represented at the signing by its founding director, Finny Matthews. Matthews also serves as president of Alpha International Ministries (AIM), an evangelistic and humanitarian organization dedicated to the advancement of the Gospel in Asia. As the theological education arm of AIM, ACTS equips ministers of the Gospel to preach the Word and reach the world, and this GTI partnership will enhance those efforts.
As Southwestern President Paige Patterson explained during the signing, GTI is not able to support schools like ACTS on its own. “So we have asked Champion Churches from here in the United States to accept with us the role of being a partner institution with the institution overseas,” he said. “And that is exactly what has happened. … We have two great churches here today who have excelled in missionary work already, and yet they are willing to take a new institution and be Champion Churches.”
Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, and the First Baptist Church of Forney, Texas, volunteered to support the GTI partnership with AIM. While GTI will handle the academic side of the partnership, these Champion Churches will cover the practical—providing technological resources, funding students, aiding in building projects, etc.
Patterson explained, “What do we ask Champion Churches to do? Nothing. That’s the most remarkable thing about this; we ask the Champion Churches to pray—to come onboard and pray for this institution. And then, we don’t dictate what’s going to happen next; we don’t have to. The Champion Churches come onboard, and they do more than we ever figured for them.
“All we’re doing is just playing Cupid and arranging the marriage. So we get the marriage set up, and then we stand back and watch with amazement and awe at what these churches do.”
Both churches have already worked with ACTS, providing the school with its first library and visiting the campus to begin initial training and strategic planning. The churches’ pastors, Danny Forshee and Jimmy Pritchard, represented their congregations at the signing, committing their churches to five-year partnerships with ACTS in order to reach, teach and equip the next generation of men and women who are entering into Gospel ministry in South Asia.
GTI Director Brent Ray said during the signing, “ACTS has developed its first five-year plan, laying a foundation for this project. Both of these churches have already been in the field and committed to this work. So we rejoice today in what God is doing in South Asia.”