Institute for Excellence In Christian Leadership Development
Oftentimes leaders of Majority World theological education programs can feel overmatched, having been appointed into their positions because someone had to step up and lead. Most leaders were trained in their academic disciplines as faculty members and have never led on this scale. They feel inadequate and overwhelmed by the demands of their roles. Imagine leading a seminary in the midst of emerging cultural issues like hunger, human trafficking, the dominance of Islam and war just to name a few. These men and women look around for help only to find that, truly, the buck stops with them. The reasons that leaders step down are many, but they ultimately boil down to the same things: little support, scarce guidance and few resources.
The Overseas Council Solution: Lifting up the Leaders of Leaders
What theological schools and programs in the Majority World often need is not simply more funding but more learning. The Institute for Excellence in Christian Leadership Development provides much-needed resources for those who lead seminaries, colleges and organizations. Through investing considerable time and resources in the strengthening of institutions, we aim not only to build the capacity of the institutions but also build longevity into their leaders.
The Institute for Excellence is a regional, week-long working conference for the core leadership of our partner institutions in each global region, developed to strengthen leadership skills, organizational expertise and accountability. Participating in the Institute for Excellence and interacting with leaders of other schools can transform how these men and women address the challenges that await them and implement best practices. They are encouraged to know they are not alone and that like-minded brothers and sisters can help. Our work has a ripple effect: first to the faculty and staff of the institutions, then the students whom they influence and then to the individuals whom those students impact throughout a lifetime of ministry.
Since the first Institute in 1999, more than 3,987 leaders from 250 institutions representing 100 countries have participated.
The Need: Sharpen the Tools
We need to do more. For every leader who receives the support he or she needs in a timely way, there are many more of God’s servants who are simply struggling to hold it together, feeling like they are in over their heads. To advance Christian leaders, we have to start with those at the top who bear the responsibility for guiding and directing their institutions. By investing in them, we improve the effectiveness of every other investment – as the quality of education improves and becomes more connected with the needs of the Church, as institutions become more effective and efficient, as the vision being put forth meets the needs going forward.
2014-2015 Institute for Excellence
The theme of this year’s Institute is Unconventional Models for Theological Education. It will build upon learning about innovative educational models at nine Overseas Council partner schools. Through this learning, the Institute will become a catalyst for “reflection in action” among educational leaders and multiply the influence of our 130 partner schools. The participants will work to see how their school can implement new models for theological education, so that the churches in their context will have a greater impact through leaders trained for ministry in a more contextualized manner.
|August 6-9, 2014||Colombo, Sri Lanka|
|October 13-16, 2014||TBD – Euro-Asia|
|November 4-7, 2014||Nairobi, Kenya|
|March 10-13, 2015||TBD – Middle East/North Africa|
|April 14-17, 2015||TBD – Mexico|
|May 5-8, 2015||TBD – Africa|
|June 16-19, 2015||TBD – Colombia|
|“When I was asked to be the Principal back in 1998, I had very little experience in that kind of leadership….Six months after I took this job, Overseas Council had its first Institute for Excellence….I was just like a sponge, ready to soak up anything I could find out about how to lead an organization….In my own leadership development, I have found Overseas Council walking with me every step of the way.” Ivor Poobalan, Principal, Colombo Theological Seminary (CTS), Sri Lanka|
FLITE – Foundation for Leadership in Theological Education
A new Institute initiative called FLITE (Foundation for Leadership in Theological Education) is a 12-month program for new presidents of strategic seminaries around the world. Overseas Council recognizes the importance of coming alongside these new leaders in this formative stage of their roles. FLITE provides access to relevant resource materials, networking among presidents, one-on-one mentoring and a workshop for all participants. Effective seminary leadership themes to be addressed include team building, faculty relationships, financial management, institutional advancement and vision among others. The Director of FLITE, Dr. Phil Tait, is based in Auckland, New Zealand.