Director of Education and Engagement
Director of Education and Engagement

The Problem:

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, 3-4 day workshop 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 4,000 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.


2015-2016 Institute for Excellence

The theme of this year’s Institute is Assessment for Impact in Theological Education. Seminary leaders at the Institute will focus on evaluating their graduates’ effectiveness in ministry. Eleven partner schools that have worked through this process of assessment already and are currently implementing revised curriculum because of it will share their experience and guide in consultations during the Institutes.



Date Location
January 25-28, 2016 Bangalore, India
February 23-26, 2016 Manila, Philippines
March 22-25, 2016 Amman, Jordan
May 9-13, 2016 Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
July 5-7, 2016 Medellín, Colombia
August 2-5, 2016 South Africa
August 23-25, 2016 Buenos Aires, Argentina
September 20-23, 2016 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
October 11-13, 2016 Kiev, Ukraine
November 15-18, 2016 Varadero, Cuba


Ivor Poobalan - Overseas Council“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