6. Theological education and formation


Dr. Dietrich Werner, Ecumenical Institute, Bossey, Switzerland
Dr. Namsoon Kang, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, USA

Aims and objectives

The study group has been examining the connection between the catechetical and missional mandates of the church. It has considered how to strengthen the missional aspects of the training and formation of every member of the church, as well as the ordained and lay leaders.

Included in the study were educational methodologies, theological study, character development, spiritual formation and the contemporary context. The study group further examined the relation between academy and society, clergy and laity, local and global issues, resources, relevance and gifts.

Key issues and questions 

1.  How can every member of the people of God be motivated and empowered for mission?
2.  How can formation of mission spirituality become integrated into theological training programs
3.  How can the study of missiology become an integral part of the theological curriculum? How can mission perspectives be integrated into every theological discipline?
4.  The role of accreditation in relation to mission and ministry.
5.  How can churches best develop relevant curricula for local contexts?
6.  Specific training for cross-cultural ministries and for those involved in reconciliation ministry.
7.  Catalysts for theological training and formation where theological institutions are lacking.

Study group reports and publications

Handbook of Theological Education in World Christianity

The study group has produced the Handbook of Theological Education in World Christianity (Oxford: Regnum Books International, 2010), edited by Dietrich Werner, David Esterline, Namsoon Kang, Joshva Raja.

'With this prestigious research and publication project, which has brought together more than 90 expert contributions on recent developments, challenges and trends in theological education in all regions of World Christianity, a new stage has been reached in the important history of ecumenical cooperation and learning in the area of theological education. The Handbook provides a very important resource and world survey which should enable regional associations of theological schools, mission boards and church leaders in Christianity to become aware again of the crucial importance of theological education for the renewal of the church’s mission and service'.
Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town

'This is a world-class resource for all of us who feel a need for continuing ecumenical formation. The editors and authors are first-rate interpreters of the role of theological education in the churches’ quest for unity in witness, dialogue and closer cooperation. Among the practical features of the handbook are timely lists of links to organizations engaged in every region and at every level of this essential work'.
Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary, WCC

'No collection of essays has ever been produced that so brings into focus where we are in theological education today. A well prepared cadre of church leaders plays an important role in navigating us through the uncertain waters ahead. This book gives an important view of how they are being prepared. In doing so, it provides us with a vital resource to meet that future'.
Robert J. Schreiter, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, USA

'This Handbook will lead us to the search of new paths in theological education and will encourage us to see partners from other contexts, regions, continents, denominations as partners on a common learning journey'.
Ofelia Ortega, WCC President

For more information download visit the publisher's website.

Group activities and related studies

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