More Information
ISBN: 9781783683338
Imprint: Langham Global Library
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 9
Publication Date: 31/07/2018
Pages: 168
Series: ICETE Series
Language: English

Is It Working? Researching Context to Improve Curriculum

A Resource Book for Theological Schools


It is a bold thing to ask, “Is what we are doing working?” We know the danger of evaluating things as the world does — with measurements and financial strength. We rightly rejoice at the stories of faithful ministry with little fruit and know that it says something profound about our God and his true servants.

And yet . . . Good leadership has always asked whether the wineskins are adequate for the new wine. Traditional Western theology has brought various benefits throughout the world but has failed to sufficiently encourage the development of local theologizing required in every context.

At the triennial ICETE international consultation in 2015, institutional leaders from a diverse global background presented research-driven revision of theological education designed to improve understanding of the real ministry needs and better equip students to minister in their own contexts. These reports of institutional change and their insights, compiled in this publication, show a new path to effective theological education. With widespread support across the world from educators involved with ICETE, the concept of research-driven change in theological education institutions is here to stay and will continue to grow in importance. This book is an invitation to courageously embrace these concepts and join in understanding and theologizing for your own context.

Author Bios

Stuart Brooking
(Edited By)

STUART BROOKING is Executive Director of Overseas Council Australia, one of five organisations in the Overseas Council network dedicated to assisting the development of theological education in the Majority World. Stuart has degrees in five fields with doctoral studies in Theological Education from the University of Sydney, Australia. He also contributes to the training of women and men for gospel ministry in his own context, as Head of Department of Ministry and Practice at the Australian College of Theology in Sydney.


The generous sharing of these theological education institutions and various leaders involved in curriculum revision has opened our eyes to see the importance of sensitivity, openness, innovation, and collaborative efforts in bringing the needed changes.

Rev Luke Cheung, PhD
Professor in Biblical Studies,
Vice-President, China Graduate School of Theology, Hong Kong

This invaluable resource is a must for all leaders and educators serious about maximizing the impact of their training programs!

Theresa Roco-Lua, EdD
General Secretary, Asia Theological Association

What a great initiative to make this book available – an ideal tool and resource based on the last theological educators forum (ICETE 2015). The continuous development of methods and approaches will bring tremendous benefits for the global church through theology studies.

Márcio Matta
Associação Evangélica de Educação Teológica na América Latina (AETAL)

This book will encourage more theological education institutions toward confidence they are meeting their goals. It certainly helped SAIACS towards “excellence for the sake of mission.”

Ian W. Payne, PhD
Former Principal, South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies (SAIACS),
Bangalore, India

Table of Contents

    1. Acknowledgments
    2. Preface: Engaged and Effective!
    3. Introduction: “We Want to Know if It Is Working”
  1. Section I: Assessment of Context: Why? What? How?
    1. 1 – Effectiveness and Impact in Theological Education from a Biblical Perspective (Christopher Wright)
    2. 2 – Assessment Beyond the 4Bs (Scott Cunningham)
    3. 3 – Connecting Curriculum and Context: The Foundations for Relevance in Theological Education (Rupen Das)
    4. 4 – My Assessment Journey (Ashish Chrispal)
  2. Section II: Stories from the Field: Institutions Which Assessed Their Context and Changed Their Curriculum
    1. 5 – A Colombian Experience: Doing Research in the Context of Displacement (Jhohan Centeno)
    2. 6 – An Indian Experience: Seeing the Gaps (Havilah Dharamraj)
    3. 7 – A Zimbabwean Experience: Journey to Maturity (Ray Motsi and Robert Heaton)
      1. Appendix: Proposed Curriculum Model
    4. 8 – A Sri Lankan Experience: Some Surprising Outcomes (Lal Senanayake)
  3. Section III: Issues in Change
    1. 9 – Leading for Change: The View from the President’s Office (Elie Haddad)
    2. 10 – What’s It Worth? Developing the Library (Melody Mazuk)
    3. 11 – Practical Notes on Impact-Based Curriculum Development (Scott Cunningham)
    4. 12 – A Critical Assessment of the Impact Agenda (Marvin Oxenham)
    5. 13 – Culture, Communication, and Research on Impact (Perry Shaw)
    6. 14 – What Difference Do We Make? Impact-Based Assessment (Elizabeth Sendek)
    1. Postscript
    2. Bibliography
    3. Resources
    4. List of Contributors


Jhohan Centeno

JHOHAN CENTENO is a professor at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia (FUSBC) in Medellín and also oversees the virtual programs. He is an authorized minister in the Foursquare Church. He has a master’s degree in E-learning and is currently pursuing his doctoral studies in Theology.

Ashish Chrispal

ASHISH CHRISPAL, PhD, is a pastor, grassroots missionaries’ trainer, and theological education facilitator. Ashish has served with Overseas Council for the last ten years equipping seminaries in Asia to rethink theological education through being missional and ministry-oriented with a scholarly focus for the Lord’s glory.

Scott Cunningham

SCOTT CUNNINGHAM, PhD. Scott’s experience as a theological educator began as a missionary faculty member in Nigerian seminaries. He later served the Association for Christian Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA), assisting seminaries with accreditation. Scott currently serves the international team of Overseas Council as Executive Director.

Rupen Das

RUPEN DAS has been involved in missions and Christian international development for over forty years, partnering with the Navigators, World Vision, the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, and local NGOs, among others. He currently serves as President of the Canadian Bible Society and is a research professor at Tyndale University, Toronto, Canada. He writes on topics of global Christianity, missions, poverty, and ministries of compassion.

Havilah Dharamraj

HAVILAH DHARAMRAJ, PhD (Durham, UK), is the Academic Dean at the South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies, where she teaches Old Testament. She is one of the editors of, and a contributor to, the South Asia Bible Commentary.

Elie Haddad

ELIE HADDAD is President of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) in Mansourieh, Lebanon. He grew up in Sidon, Lebanon, before moving to Canada where he lived, worked and studied for fifteen years. He returned to Lebanon in 2005 when he joined the staff of ABTS. He became President in 2008. He holds Canadian and Lebanese nationality.

Robert Heaton

ROBERT HEATON, PhD, is registrar at the Theological College of Zimbabwe, following decades of ministry at that institution including ten years as acting principal. He has held other leadership positions with national Christian bodies such as the Baptist Union.

Melody Mazuk

MELODY MAZUK has served as a theological librarian for many years in a variety of Christian colleges and seminaries worldwide. She describes herself both as a global Christian and a global theological librarian.

Ray Motsi

RAY MOTSI, PhD, is President of the Theological College of Zimbabwe. His doctoral work was in Peace Building and Conflict Transformation and has worked in this area in different contexts.

Lal Senanayake

LAL SENANAYAKE is the President of Lanka Bible College and Seminary. He is a graduate of Lanka Bible College, University of Nottingham, and Trinity International University (TIU). He earned his PhD in Educational Studies at TIU as a scholar of ScholarLeaders International. He has served at Lanka Bible College and Seminary for over twenty-five years in several capacities – from being a student to being the current president. Lal has many years of experience in pastoral care and counselling ministry. In addition to teaching at LBCS Lal has a passion for writing for the Majority World. This book has provided a great platform to speak to the context of theological education in the Majority World.

Perry Shaw

Perry Shaw is Researcher in Residence at Morling College, Sydney, Australia, and author of Transforming Theological Education. Prior to moving to Australia, Perry and his family served from 1990 to 2019 in the Middle East. During the 1990s, he helped to establish extension centres in Syria for the PTEE (the Programme for Theological Education by Extension). He then taught at the Near East School of Theology (Beirut) during the early years of the millennium, joining the Faculty of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS, Beirut) in 2007, where he served as Professor of Education. While at ABTS, Perry was closely involved in the development of their highly innovative curriculum, while also becoming increasingly involved in international consultancy for theological education. Perry has authored two TEE texts, The Acts of the Apostles and The Art of Teaching and co-edited the collection Challenging Tradition: Innovation in Advanced Theological Education. He has also published numerous articles in the fields of theological education, intercultural studies, and Christian leadership.

Christopher J. H. Wright

CHRISTOPHER J. H. WRIGHT is Global Ambassador and Ministry Director ofLangham Partnership. He was formerly principal of All Nations Christian College,Ware, UK, after he taught at Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India. His books includeOld Testament Ethics for the People of God, The Mission of God, Knowing God –The Trilogy, The Mission of God’s People and several commentaries in The BibleSpeaks Today series.

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