The Shepherd's Academy Launch!

11 June 2021

Two million Christians serving as pastors and lay leaders around the world are estimated to be engaging in courageous and often dangerous ministries with little or no theological education. At the same time, Governments are increasingly insisting that those who fulfil these roles are suitably qualified.

In light of this, the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life have launched ‘The Shepherd’s Academy’ (TSA). On Friday, June 11 over 100 theological educators around the world attended (by zoom) the launch of a major new programme whose goal is to provide affordable and accessible training, from a certificate to bachelors level, for grassroots church leaders across the Global South.

TSA works primarily through existing institutions, networks, and churches. Dr Joshva John, the dean of OCRPL, said that,

“TSA will build capacity in these institutions, complement their work and fill gaps in their curriculum to enable those who have no access to or cannot afford traditional theological education to develop skills for ministry and mission to transform the communities around them.”

The vision is that while learning in the midst of disaster or persecution they will gain courage to face their challenges, find hope in hopeless situations and counter untruth with truth.

Dr Sookhdeo noted that during the current pandemic, many Christian leaders in the Global South are succumbing to COVID. There is not time to wait for a better day. The church must be strengthened now. He thanked the team of over 20 course writers across the Global South with experience in teaching and training who have been designing, developing and delivering context based learning courses to enable prophetic engagement by the churches.

It was a joy to be joined by so many friends and partners from around the world. We are excited to begin this journey and carry out our vision with God’s blessing.