SAMS-USA Board Vice Chairman John Macdonald details an exciting opportunity for those gifted and trained for theological education to serve God. SAMS is pleased to #CarryOnAdvent by sending missionaries who will equip leaders in the global church to carry on the Good News of Christ’s coming kingdom to all.
A Unique and Fulfilling Opportunity
In the midst of unprecedented renewal and revival, the Christian faith is spreading at a rapid pace in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. At the same time, the vast majority of Christian leaders, whether they be ordained or lay, have not received adequate theological education. SAMS-USA is engaged in a program to recruit faculty with post-graduate degrees to teach in select theological colleges around the world in order to help with this problem.
Do you have a post-graduate degree in theology, biblical studies, or ministry that is underutilized?
Are you on a teaching faculty and are considering where to spend your sabbatical?
Are you retired from teaching and are looking for a way to offer your knowledge and experience?
What is the need?
The need for good, orthodox theological education in the Global South is becoming more and more critical with each passing year. We can rejoice that renewal and revival is taking place in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and other places around the world. Yet the result is that Christian leadership, grounded in biblical orthodoxy, is acutely needed.
What is the answer?
How is it then that theological education can be improved in those areas of the world where the Church is growing at a rapid pace? The answer lies in recruiting and providing qualified faculty to teach in various Anglican theological institutions around the world. Some of these colleges are in the process of becoming accredited by their own country’s ministry or department of education, and they urgently need doctoral-level faculty in order to be accredited and given degree-granting status. There are other equipping institutions where teachers with master’s degrees are being requested.
Where is the need?
Five institutions in Asia and Africa have expressed interest in this program. There are other possible placements around the world. Please inquire at the contact information below for more details!
What are the next steps?
I am interested. Through SAMS-USA (The Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders), a program is being launched to recruit and prepare possible candidates for these overseas positions whether it be for one year, two years, or longer. While the candidate would need to raise support for their transportation, monthly stipend, and benefits (including health insurance and retirement plans through SAMS), the expectation is that the host institution would provide housing and other amenities thus reducing the amount of financial support needed. The length of service is based on the candidate’s availability, whether it be for a single term or for one or two years—or more. After attending a Crossroads Conference sponsored by SAMS-USA and meeting the requirements for missionary service, the candidate and spouse (if applicable) will receive support-raising preparation, two weeks of pre-field orientation and other necessary training that will all be provided by SAMS-USA.
Like anyone preparing for service in mission, we inevitably get asked why we’ve chosen the destination where we’re planning to serve. It’s a quite natural question, and it challenges us to explain how a call is received. Sometimes it is a question that challenges us to explain why we’re heading to someplace so far away when there are so many ways to serve so much closer to home.
As is the case for
many missionary candidates, what some friends see as our “choice” is not so
much a decision that originated with us as it is a decision to accept an
invitation from the Lord. Explaining that can involve a
whole different level of unpacking, depending upon where the inquiring friend
stands in terms of his or her faith. No, the heavens did not part, and no God’s
voice did not resonate from between the clouds. God spoke to us as he so often
speaks – in a still small voice that a believer has to listen for among all the
sounds that fill the spaces in ordinary life.
In our case, God’s
invitation came through Ugandan friends, and through a network of friendships
we had cultivated through opening our home to students from Uganda Christian
University over a period of several years. Several years ago, the Law
Faculty at UCU began training and fielding teams of law students to qualify and
then to compete in one of the most renowned international moot court
competitions held every April in Washington DC, where we live. Because of our
involvement with our parish’s mission and outreach committee, we volunteered to
host a couple of the visiting Ugandan students, an offer that evolved into a
(mostly) annual event during the years UCU would qualify and send a team. Each
year we made new friends, and nurtured those friendships through email and
social media correspondence as they graduated from university, worked their way
through Uganda’s Law Development Centre, and began their careers. A couple of
years ago, a friend who had himself served as a missionary professor at UCU
called us, and in the course of a conversation asked, “Have you ever considered
serving at UCU yourselves?”
His question did not
immediately lead us to answer “yes”, but it did lead us to a long period of
discernment to test the idea whether we were motivated to serve, and whether
and how we were equipped to serve in a way that would contribute to UCU’s
mission to educate the rising generation of East Africa’s leaders. In thinking
back on this discernment process of now nearly two years, and pondering
ourselves the question “Why Uganda?” that is woven deeply into our call that
came in the form of an invitation I found myself returning again and again to
one of Scripture’s most familiar stories – the story Jesus provides in answer
to the question “Who is my neighbor?”
Consider that story. The Samaritan passing along the road has never met the man accosted by robbers, lying alongside that road. They are not neighbors in the sense of two people who greet each other from gate to gate across a little lane on which they each live. They are strangers. And yet the man who the world now calls “The Good Samaritan” responds to the man left beaten on the side of the road as his neighbor.
Among the things Jesus
is teaching through this story is that there are times when we are placed in
situations where we see even a stranger in a new light, as a neighbor deserving
of our attention and care. Times of opportunity, when if we listen we hear the
still small voice of God, a voice that transforms our unquestioning acceptance
of the familiar, and directs our perceptions of the world toward God’s
perceptions. To a world where neighbors can come from a place half a world
away, even when they’re sitting at your dinner table. To a neighborhood at once
vast and yet surprisingly small, where there is valuable work to be done, where
one is invited to participate in that work, though the work may take place half
a world away.
No doubt there are
people who sit down and make a decision to go someplace and to serve there,
whether the “someplace” may be in the homeless shelter in their city’s downtown
core, or to an orphanage in the foothills of the Himalayas. Catherine and I
respect and honor those decisions. In our case – and in the case of many who
are called to serve in mission – the decision to serve is a response to an
invitation to serve that God offered through friends in an unexpected way.
There is no one answer to the question “Who is my neighbor?”, but in a broken
world, the God we acclaim invites us to see neighbors whom we may not
previously have considered, whether they may be reached via a bus ride
downtown, or by a flight across the world to the heart of Africa. There is so
much work to be done.
In our case, though we
did not recognize it at the time, we met our neighbors from Uganda at our
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