South Asia Nazarene Bible College recently hosted four days of training and celebration for pastors, educators, leaders, and students across two locations.
In Bangalore, India, the college held a two-day professional development seminar that brought together 63 leaders and pastors from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The group reviewed the role of SANBC education in the Church of the Nazarene and focused on two themes: education as spiritual formation and quality assurance.
Representatives from European Nazarene College presented the quality assurance model they use, and the group examined how to modify this model to suit the needs of SANBC. They also discussed how to adequately address current and future challenges, learned new teaching skills, and optimized SANBC educational goals for higher scholastic performance.
The gathering provided valuable networking opportunities and revealed possibilities for future cooperation among church leaders, inspiring Nazarenes to grow deeper in spiritual life.
The seminar was followed by the college’s third Wesleyan Theology Conference, a contextualized continuation of the Global Theology Conference held in the United States in March 2018.
During the 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 impressed by the quality of the papers at the theology conference. Tibi and Dean Blevins, professor of practical theology and Christian discipleship at Nazarene Theological Seminary, Kansas City, USA, are considering publishing a few of the papers in Didache, a Nazarene scholarly journal.
“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.
A follow-up professional development seminar for Nepal will be conducted in November, along with another Wesleyan Theology Conference.
The college then switched to celebration mode in observation of its 20th anniversary. The ceremony highlighted many of the school’s accomplishments, including some of the creative ways they prepare ministers in India and South Asia. Leaders shared the history of SANBC, from its original establishment as Nazarene Bible College India to its current format as a decentralized program for all of India and South Asia. The event also recognized those who contributed to the college’s founding.
The college’s anniversary was also celebrated during a graduation service in Bangladesh where more than 40 students from all five Bangladeshi districts received their diplomas. The graduates included many women who are actively engaged in full-time ministry.
Several students publicly shared their testimonies of how theological education through SANBC transformed their lives. Each student was honored with stoles, certificates, and gifts. After the certificate presentation, the leaders prayed over and dedicated the students for the ministry of God, expressing thankfulness for God’s blessings toward the churches and districts of Bangladesh.
More than 1,800 students are currently studying toward a Diploma in Theology 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.