An appraisal of theological training for untrained church leaders in Sub Saharan Africa : with particular reference to the training program of Veritas College

Wiid, Willem Jacobus (2002-03)

Thesis (DTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2002

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study is an appraisal of the training program of Veritas College as an answer to the training need of the untrained church leaders in Sub Saharan Africa, focusing on the country of Malawi. Partly as a result of the impact of the Church Growth Movement the number of churches in Africa has increased significantly during the last decade. These achievements have created a major training problem. Theological training institutions have been unable to cope with the massive influx of church leaders. Despite remarkable efforts by them, new methods of theological training have had to be developed in order to fulfil the training needs of Africa. The situation in Africa has changed due to many political and historical developments, creating a need for Christians to be trained in how to impact their context. There is a new environment and challenge for theological education in Africa today. Ideally, theological education should develop all levels of Christian leadership, so that leaders become devoted, effective and knowledgeable workers of God. The Church has always tried to provide theological training for these workers, and has created various educational models. Formal and non-formal education are important modes of training, and form, together with the church, an important triangle in the provision of learning services for the body of Christ. Formal as well as non-formal theological training models, however, have various weaknesses, including a tendency to dominate from the top; a fixed curriculum out of context; an over-emphasis on a content approach; the inaccessibility of training for the untrained church leader; the inaffordability of training for the really poor untrained church leaders in Sub Saharan Africa. This creates a need for change in theological training today. Principles for an appropriate theological education for Sub SaharancAfrica should include i) the development of local church leadership within the context, for the context; ii) a holistic approach to theological education; iii) a focus on character formation in leadership training; iv) training in the context of the local congregation; v) the equipping all levels of church leadership; vi) training to practise theology; and vii) the provision of 'basic theological training'. The training model proposed by Veritas College has an education philosophy called "Integrated Leadership Development" (ILD). This training model is integrated into the functioning of the local congregation and the life of the trainee. ILD also promotes an integrated theological practice, where the trainee is taught how to practise theology. Veritas' training program is built around the basic skills of how to do understand, apply and communicate the Bible. An appraisal is done of the training program of Veritas College as presented in the Synod of Nkhoma of the Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian (CCAP) in Malawi. From the perspective of the unique training context of Malawi and the CCAP, the development of this program is described and evaluated in the light of the training needs of Sub Saharan Africa. The potential of the Veritas training model to contribute to the training need of Sub Saharan Africa is evaluated. The model has the ability to i) present technical theological training for a semi-literate church leadership; ii) implement basic theological training for church leaders in the local congregation; iii) offer a theological training program not bound to many theoretical books; iv) help semi-literate church leaders to make use of the only piece of literature they possess, namely the Bible; and v) to teach the illiterate through an oral medium. It would indeed appear that Veritas is able to make a positive contribution to the training needs of Sub Saharan Africa.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie beoordeel die opleidingsmodel van Veritas College as 'n antwoord op die opleidingsnood van die onopgeleide kerkleiers in Sub Sahara Afrika, met die fokus op Malawi. Gedeeltelik as gevolg van die Kerkgroei Beweging was daar gedurende die laaste dekade 'n aansienlike groei in die aantal kerke in Afrika. Dit het gelei tot 'n geweldige opleidingskrisis. Teologiese opleidingsinstansies kon net nie voldoen in die aanvraag vir opleiding in die steeds toenemende kerkleierskap nie. Ten spyte van noemenswaardige pogings om in hierdie behoefte te voldoen, was daar 'n besef dat nuwe metodes ontwikkel sou moes word om in die nuwe opleidingsbehoeftes van Sub Sahara Afrika te voldoen. Verder vra die benarde sosio-ekonomiese konteks in Sub Sahara Afrika dat gelowiges toegerus word om iets aan hulle konteks te doen. Teologiese opleiding moet daarna streef om aile vlakke van Christelike leierskap te ontwikkel tot toegewyde, effektiewe en ingeligde werkers van God. Die kerk het nog altyd probeer om in die behoefte vir opleiding van hierdie werkers te voorsien deur in 'n verskeidenheid van opleidingsmodelle te voorsien. Formele en informele onderrig vorm saam met die kerk 'n belangrike driehoek in die voorsiening van opleidingsdienste vir die liggaam van Christus. Formele en informele teologiese opleidingsmodelle toon verskeie tekortkominge, insluitend 'n geneigdheid om voor te skryf van bo af; 'n vasgestelde kurrikulum wat nie konteksgetrou is nie; die ontoeganklikheid van opleiding aan die onopgeleide kerkleier; en duur opleiding vir die arm kerkleiers in Sub Sahara Afrika. Dit alles skep die behoefte aan 'n nuwe benadering in teologiese opleiding vandag. Sekere beginsels word voorgestel vir 'n toepaslike teologiese opleiding in Sub Sahara Afrika vandag, insluitend i) die ontwikkeling van plaaslike kerkleierskap binne die konteks, vir die konteks; ii) 'n omvattende benadering tot teologiese opleiding; iii) 'n fokus op karakterontwikkeling in leierskapsopleiding; iv) opleiding binne die konteks van die plaaslike gemeente; v) die toerusting van aile vlakke van kerkleierskap; vi) opleiding om teologie te kan beoefen; en vii) die voorsiening van 'n 'basiese teologiese opleiding.' Die opleidingsmodel wat Veritas College aanbied se opleidingsfilosofie word saamgevat as "Geinteqreerde Leierskaps Ontwikkeling"'(GLO). Hierdie opleidingsmodel is qemteqreer in die funksionering van die plaaslike gemeente en die lewe van die opgeleide persoon. GLO bied ook 'n qeinteqreerde teoloqiese praktyk aan, waar die student geleer word hoe om teologie te beoefen. Veritas se opleidingsprogram is ontwikkel rondom die basiese vaardighede hoe om die Bybel te interpreteer toe te pas en aan te wend vir effektiewe kommunikasie. Binne die konteks van die Nkhoma Sinode van die Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian (CCAP) in Malawi vertoon die opleidingsprogram van die Veritas College potensiaal. Dit het die verrnoe om i) 'n tegniese teologiese opleiding aan te bied op die bevatlikheidsvlak van die laaggeskoolde kerkleierskap; ii) 'n basiese teologiese opleidingsprogram vir die kerkleiers binne 'n plaaslike gemeente te implementeer; iii) 'n opleidingsprogram wat nie gebind is aan baie handboeke vir die aanbieding van opleiding vir laaggeletterde kerkleiers; iv) laaggeskoolde kerkleiers te help om die enigste boek in hul besit, die Bybel, beter aan te wend; en v) om die ongeletterders mondelings te onderrig. Dit Iyk dus inderdaad of Veritas wei 'n bydrae kan lewer tot die opleiding van die baie onopgeleide kerkleiers in Sub Sahara Afrika.

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