A peep into life in Africa, through the eyes of an African Reformed Baptist pastor.

Water, water, water, everywhere. What else do you expect? I am a Baptist, and I live in the land of the mighty Victoria Falls!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bible Colleges Worth Attending In Zambia--The Sovereign Grace Theological Seminary

Sovereign Grace Theological Seminary — SGTS for short — was born in 2006 as a joint project of the Sola 5 association of churches. (Sola 5 is an “Association of God-centred evangelicals in southern Africa.”) After operating from South Africa for two years, the Sola 5 association handed SGTS over to a group of four Reformed Baptist churches in Lusaka and we have been operating from Lusaka since 2009.

Our vision

Our vision is “to be a centre of excellence for reformed Biblical scholarship, devotion and teaching, impacting Africa with the gospel of Christ and a God-centred world view.” That’s quite a mouthful! In plain language, we are rooted in historic Protestant Christianity yet want to listen to the Spirit as he continues to speak through the Word of Scripture; we want to recognize our dependence on God through humble devotion; and we want to lead people to a deeper knowledge of God through his Word. Our central concern is to train men who will be godly shepherds — lovers of God and his Word, lovers of men, and faithful expositors of Scripture.

A group of students during a contact session in Pretoria, South Africa

Distinctive approach

SGTS’s approach is rather different to that of the other seminaries featured on this blog. Our programme uses a distance-learning approach rather than a lecture-centred one. As much as we recognize the importance of relationships and face-to-face contact, we have also become aware that there are many pastors and aspiring pastors who are unable to relocate (with or without their families!) to attend full time training for three or four years. Through our distance-learning approach we allow our students to remain in their places of work or ministry and supply them with written and audio-visual materials to guide them through their studies. This doesn’t mean, however, that we neglect face-to-face contact or meaningful relationships. Twice a year we hold “contact sessions” for a week at a time in South Africa (Gauteng), Zimbabwe (Harare), Zambia (Lusaka) and Namibia (Windhoek). These contact sessions provide an opportunity for students to meet one another and their lecturers. Relationships begun in this way continue through the year and beyond. We are thankful that, despite the challenges of distance learning, one of our students could testify, “For me, SGTS is not just a college but a family.”

The fact that many students are deeply involved in ministry enables them to apply what they are learning immediately. It also means that they come to their studies with hearts and minds full of practical ministry issues — which has its own way of enhancing learning.

The distance learning approach helps us to realize the vision of impacting Africa, and we have had students from South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.

Pastor Kennedy Sunkutu handling one of the contact sessions in Lusaka, Zambia

Study programme

At the moment SGTS offers a one-year Certificate in Theology, which provides an introduction to academic skills (reading, writing and critical thinking), as well as an overview the Bible, theology and church history; Christian vocation and the call to ministry are also covered. The academic standard of the courses is high and intending students should have a secondary school pass that will equip them for tertiary studies. Our intention is to expand our programme to the level of a Bachelor’s degree and beyond as the Lord provides the needed resources.

Students in discussion during a contact session in Harare, Zimbabwe

Present and future developments

SGTS is in the process of merging with the African Christian University to become its theological faculty. The vision of African Christian University is to raise up servants of God with a transforming world- and life-view. All academic training will be offered from a distinctively Christian perspective (yes, even mathematics!) and teaching will emphasize mentoring and discipling, rather than just lecturing. This merger will expand the seminary’s vision and help it to realize its goal of impacting Africa with the gospel. One of the initial plans is to add a residential programme to operate alongside the distance-learning programme.

For more information — either as a prospective student or a partner in the ministry — please contact the SGTS office by email (admin@sgts.org) or by telephone (+260-971-746-487).

More information can also be obtained from www.sgts.org or from www.acu-zambia.com

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