ICETE & Michael A. Ortiz
Theological Education more Globally Connected
At present, there are nearly 50,000 training programs for church leadership worldwide. Some are formal, while many are less structured. Some are complicated and at times bureaucratically stalled, while others are nimble and ready to shift on a dime. Some are accredited, some are not and desire to be, and some are not and do not care to be. Some are in-person, some are distance models and highly flexible including online formats. Some are local, perhaps regional programs in a single language, while some are global and even extending across various cultures and languages. The array of programs, objectives, modalities, and scopes have expanded beyond our capacity to quantify all of them.
But, imagine how all the varied programs would benefit from being more globally connected, learning from one another, exploring ways to collaborate, and together expanding the global capacity to serve church training needs. ICETE, the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education seeks to move the needle towards that vision.
Technology can be a polarizing word. The idea of artificial intelligence or robots can seem exciting to some of us but scary to others. But did you know that technology is playing a critical role in building God’s Kingdom?
Andrew Flemming, vice president of global partnerships engagement for Wycliffe said,
These tools include things like: Starlink satellites, which provide stable internet; Render, which records oral Bible translations; and Chameleon, which enables the Bible to be translated into sign language in persecuted areas.
We know that it takes a lot of reading material in a non-dominant language community to make reading worthwhile and give the practice needed to develop true literacy. We help language communities to create these reading materials using Bloom. The Bloom Library holds over 10,500 books that these language communities can download to translate into their own languages. Bloom is software that facilitates translating the book into their own language, recording an audio reading of the book and then publishing the books in various print and digital forms. Bloom Reader is a smartphone app that allows language communities to download the talking books that Bloom creates and it highlights the text as the reader listens to facilitate learning to read.
All of effective Eurasian Kingdom initiatives are built on two key elements: 1) Effective Communications 2) Effective Collaboration – How we work together. Long-time EMDC champion, Phill Butler, is an acknowledged expert in these fields. His book, Well Connected, the global “bible” of partnership and network development is now in a dozen languages. Phill has just completed a great new resource website with 140+ articles and 30+ videos on these topics.