Professional development was the focus of a two-day event hosted by South Asia Nazarene Bible College (SANBC) in Bangalore, India, in early August.
The event also included two additional days for SANBC’s third Wesleyan Theology Conference, a contextualized continuation of the Global Theology Conference held in the United States in March 2018, and a 20th anniversary celebration.
Improving SANBC education
The professional development seminar brought together 63 leaders and pastors from across India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka to review the role of SANBC education in the Church of the Nazarene. They focused on two important themes: education as spiritual formation, and quality assurance. Representatives from SANBC’s sister institution, European Nazarene College, presented the quality assurance model they use. The group examined how to modify the model to suit the needs of SANBC. The group also studied how to expand its capacity to address current and future challenges, learn new teaching skills to be used in the South Asian context, and position SANBC education for high performance.
A follow-up professional development seminar for Nepal will be conducted in November, along with another Wesleyan Theology Conference.
The gathering provided a valuable networking opportunity, revealing possibilities for future cooperation among church leaders, and inspiring Nazarenes to grow deeper in spiritual life.
SANBC offers a professional development seminar for its faculty once every three years; this was the seventh such professional development seminar.
Theology conference and anniversary
During the Wesleyan Theology Conference, SANBC faculty presented papers on topics including Christology, missiology, and religious pluralism in the Indian and South Asian contexts.
Stéphane Tibi, the regional education coordinator, was “positively impressed” by the quality of the papers at the theology conference. He is in dialog with Dean Blevins, Professor of Practical Theology and Christian Discipleship
at Nazarene Theological Seminary, Kansas City, USA, to see whether one or two of them could be published in the Nazarene scholarly journal “Didache”.
“It is a joy to see the theological maturity of my Indian brothers and sisters, and their very meaningful contribution to our global theological community,” Tibi said.
SANBC’s 20th anniversary celebration marked highlights of accomplishments, such as creative ways to prepare ministers in India and South Asia. SANBC’s history was shared, including its original establishment as Nazarene Bible College India, before it later became SANBC – a de-centralized program for all of India and South Asia. Those who contributed to the college’s founding were commemorated.
An SANBC 20th anniversary celebration was also held in Bangladesh, including a graduation service, with 44 graduates from all five districts of Bangladesh. More women were graduated who are actively engaged in full-time ministry, some as lay pastors, to support mission of the Bangladesh Church of the Nazarene.
More than 150 believers attended the graduation service. Several students publicly shared their testimony of how theological education through SANBC transformed their lives in many ways. Before the closing prayer each student was called and honored with stoles, along with certificates and gifts. After the certificate presentation, the leaders prayed over and dedicated the students for the ministry of God, as well as expressed thankfulness for God’s blessings towards the churches and districts of Bangladesh.
SANBC has over 1,800 students registered from all over India and South Asia, studying towards a “Diploma in Theology”. The education takes place in over 120 local churches, called learning centers, in 15 languages. Seventy-four qualified faculty provide leadership in this endeavor.
SANBC continues to grow in new districts, and will be adding new programs in the years ahead. In the next 10 years, the college’s goal is to produce 10,000 new pastors in alignment with the strategy of the India and South Asia fields.
SANBC courses are under revision, with focus on ministerial outcomes in alignment with the Church of the Nazarene in Eurasia Region’s priorities.
By Rev. Rajiv Yangad and Rev. Simon Jothi