Building the Whole Church
Collaborating Theological Education Practices in the Ecclesial Context of South Asia
As the church grows ever larger in areas once considered impervious to the gospel, theological training is failing to keep up with the needs of local congregations. This lack of missional capacity, alongside an overwhelming shortage of trained leadership, indicates a pressing need to revisit the aims and approaches of theological education globally.
Engaging qualitative research from South Asia, Dr. Jessy Jaison demonstrates that both formal and non-formal approaches to theological training can support the church’s missional calling. However, she challenges the growing normalization that theological education is an end in itself, distant from those it was meant to serve. Dr. Jaison calls for a church-centered paradigm in which all forms of training would collaborate with and for the body of Christ. Not only will readers be introduced to theological education in the South Asian context, they will also benefit from the practical and collaborative model demonstrated and how they can revitalize the process in supporting the church in its mission.
In this thoroughly researched and well argued work, Dr. Jessy Jaison calls for an urgent critique of the normalization of theological education (TE) as an end in itself, abstracted from the church. I highly commend this invaluable resource for theological educators globally.
Ivor Poobalan, PhD
Principal, Colombo Theological Seminary, Sri Lanka
Co-Chair, Theology Working Group, Lausanne Movement
Here is a book for everyone concerned about the vitality of global theological education, who has noticed its ongoing and recent challenges and shifts, and longs for its renewal, reenvisioning, and reformation. Dr. Jessy affirms the real and potential missional values of the variety and diversity of approaches of theological education – formal, nonformal, informal; all needed to serve the church well, each with its own strengths, contributions, and purposes.
Scott Cunningham, PhD
Senior Consultant, Overseas Council
Through disciplined observation and meaningful conversation, Dr. Jessy Jaison calls for collaborative training approaches in, by, for, and with the church – the only entity being built by the Lord Christ himself – to address the deficit of the trained workers in the world’s most populous region.
Ramesh Richard, PhD
President, Ramesh Richard Evangelism and Church Health (RREACH)
Professor, Global Theological Engagement & Pastoral Ministries,
Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas, USA
In this book Dr. Jessy Jaison addresses vital questions of theological education, its relationship with the church, and the crucial nature of the emerging churches. I highly recommend her work for every theological educator across the spectrum who recognizes and cares to understand that theological education exists for and by, and is of, the church.
Ashish Chrispal, PhD
Senior Consultant, Overseas Council
Dr. Jessy Jaison’s book is a great research project and contribution to theological educators and institutions globally. It extends a biblically grounded and research-based invitation to everyone in the training endeavor to critically revisit the purposes and processes in training. I congratulate her on this contribution, and I am sure this book will be used widely and bring great results.
Bal Krishna Sharma, PhD
Principal, Nepal Theological College
In the midst of historic shifts in global education, Dr. Jaison engages concepts from educational theory and the grounded perspectives of practitioners to evaluate the potential of various modes of theological education. Here is a prophetic voice to heed as church, college, and mission seek to form servants for ministry.
Ernest Clark, PhD
Director of Global Training, United World Mission
Today’s church will not remain on mission without more effectively trained leaders. Dr. Jaison’s text offers a thoughtful examination of key trends in global theological education relevant to virtually any context as well as South Asia. A representative glimpse is offered by Dr. Jaison that will embolden all theological education leaders from all regions to prayerfully reset their collaborative focus and meet the needs of today’s church.
Michael A. Ortiz, PhD
International Director, ICETE
Vice President for Global Ministries,
Dallas Theological Seminary, Texas, USA
Table of Contents
- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- 1 Introduction: The Shifting Terrain of Theological Education
- 2 A Disadvantageous Gap
- 3 Listening Process 1: Lead Trainers/Faculty in Four Countries in South Asia
- 4 Listening Processes 2–4: Global, Regional, and National Voices
- 5 Thinking Quality, Context, Collaboration, and the Church
- 6 Envisioning Collaboration: A Biblical and
- Practical Discourse
- Appendix 1: Defining Formal and Nonformal TE
- Appendix 2: Opinionnaire 1
- Appendix 3: Opinionnaire 2
- Appendix 4: Respondents – Opinionnaires 1 & 2