That is the timeframe European Nazarene College has given to a long-term vision and strategic plan for “growing together” in the spiritual formation of its students, and as a college providing theological education to Nazarenes living in highly secularized, postmodern cultures that view themselves as “post-Christian.”
While some mistakenly view theological education as reserved for clergy, theological formation has never been more critical for the health and strength of the entire local church, said Rector Klaus Arnold.
“There are many questions being asked today to which Christians do not know how to respond,” said Arnold. “When we look at challenges like immigration, and even sexuality, how do we respond? In the past, all we needed to do was say this is right or wrong, but it doesn’t work in the same way anymore. We need to know how to approach people who think differently. This comes with theological education.”
The executive committee of the board, together with the EuNC leadership, is laying out a 10-year vision plan, from 2020 to 2030, with the objective of growing together as a school alongside local churches; growing together spiritually through the transformational aspect of education; and growing together in numbers.
“This growth pushes faculty, students, and local leaders to work together year by year to help us be a little better than before.”
To reach their 10-year objectives, the college will focus on developing five areas:
Increasing enrollment at the college’s 17 learning centers in 17 countries, which currently serve 200 students, and gaining more qualified teachers and resources
Strengthening the infrastructure – continuing to develop the current learning centers and creating new learning centers.
Increasing stability in governance – involvement and engagement of the districts in the board.
Ensuring the programs are accredited and validated, so that students will be able to fulfill ordination requirements, but also so that those who may want to continue their studies in other areas will be able to.
Enhancing EuNC’s network with other schools and ministry partners.
As the Church of the Nazarene continues pushing new frontiers and entering new countries – in Eurasia it has entered seven new countries in the past 10 years — EuNC is positioning itself to expand theological education to those whom God is calling by offering education contextualized for their cultural backgrounds and specific needs.
“When we think about opening a learning center, we think on the ways that we, as a school, can help the church in that context,” Arnold said. “When we open new learning centers, we want to do it in coherence with the field and district. As a school we want to support the field and district, and be part of its growth.”
But this growth has the potential to extend beyond the borders of the Eurasia Region. For instance, because EuNC serves France, it may also be able to support theological education in other French-speaking countries around the world.
To reach these goals, EuNC must overcome some challenges. One of the most significant is finding quality resources within the Wesleyan-Arminian holiness tradition in languages other than English.
“As the Church grows and we look to grow with the church, we need to have the resources to teach,” Arnold said. “Another challenge we have been overcoming little by little is to have a strong student community. This is something that was simpler when the students were on a campus, but we want to keep it strong.”
Rather than continue to uproot people from their jobs, culture and ministry to study full-time at EuNC, in 2012 the college closed its residential campus in Germany so as to put all its resources and focus on better serving and expand its education to students where they live and minister.
The next 10 years won’t be possible without the help and support of the district superintendents and the local churches where EuNC learning centers operate, or where they could be opened.
“Together we have the mission to preach Christ,” he said.
This article has been written by Nicole Almeida and previously published in the November 2019 edition of Where Worlds Meet.