Blog Interview – Simon Marshall MA – Tilsley College, Motherwell, Scotland

New Logo small This week we are “travelling” to Scotland to speak with Simon Marshall who is going to tell us about Tilsley College in Motherwell.

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Tilsley College.

Simon My name is Simon Marshall and I lecture in Biblical Studies and Christian Ministry and am responsible for the college’s diploma course, a ministry apprenticeship scheme.

2) Tell us a little about Tilsley College.

Tilsley College was founded in 1975 as the training arm of Gospel Literature Outreach. We are a small college that takes up to 15 or so students for our one year CertHE course in Biblical Studies and Christian Ministry.  Our second year diploma course is a church-based apprenticeship scheme with block weeks of teaching at the college spread throughout the academic year.
We run two ‘gap year’ options as well. One of these “First Serve” is run in conjunction with a mission organisation and involves a few weeks at the college followed by time spent in a church in the UK and a cross-cultural mission environment. We also offer a three month introduction to biblical studies along with a TEFL qualification which can then be used in teaching English abroad.
We also offer evening courses at the college and in other centres throughout the UK in what is called the Joshua Project. With our college-based courses and the evening classes, we have about 75 students in total.

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

Students The CertHE and Diploma courses can be taken as either full- or part-time. The evening classes are part time.

4) How do Tilsley College students fund their studies?

Our students fund their studies themselves, perhaps raising some support from their home church and friends and family.

5) Does Tilsley College take students from overseas?

We regularly take students from the EU for our year-long courses. Non-EU students have taken our Gap Year options and can study some of the modules of the Certificate and Diploma courses as part of on-going personal and professional development. We are only accredited to access the 6-month maximum visitors’ study visa..

6) What type of ministry is Tilsley College intended to prepare students for?

Building Our training started as training specifically for work in mission, especially in church planting in Europe. We continue to have a strong mission orientation in our courses. The full-time training, though, is aimed at preparing people for serving God both in this country and abroad, whether full-time or part time. Our evening classes are aimed at training Christians unable to take time off work for studies to be more effective in their local fellowships, whether as leaders or not.

7) When students leave Tilsley College what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

About 50% of our full course graduates have gone on to full-time Christian service both in the UK and abroad, working as pastors, church planters, youth workers or similar. Many others have gone into secular employment and use their training as lay leaders in their local church.

8) What is distinctive about what Tilsley College offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?

We stress the importance of community to theological training, and, being a small residential college, allows us to build a close family relationship with all our students. We also stress the importance of hands-on application of learning, so students have practical, church-based and mission-based ministry placements. Our origins within a mission organisation and our continued emphasis on mission includes a 10 day trip to spend time in a church planting situation in Europe where students gain firsthand experience of mission work, something which is then built upon in their four week field placement in the Spring.

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

library We have a well-stocked library for the size of college whose stock is continually updated. Students have internet access from the library and throughout the college.

10) Does Tilsley College offer a distance or on-line learning option. If yes, please tell us more about it.

At the moment, we have no on-line learning options but are planning on offering this in the near future. Our courses are put together in such a way that while full distance learning is not really possible, students can attend for block weeks of teaching on

Many thanks Simon

Blog Interview – Rev Johnson Thomaskutty Ph.D – The Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India

ubs_logo I am continuing my series on theological training around the world and this week I am interviewing Johnson Thomaskutty of The Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India.

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at The Union Biblical Seminary (UBS)

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Rev Johnson Thomaskutty, Ph.D.

I am Johnson Thomaskutty. I am the General Editor of ‘Union Biblical Seminary Journal’ (also called UBS Journal) and also Assistant Professor of New Testament and Greek at the seminary.

2) Tell us a little about The Union Biblical Seminary

The story of UBS goes back to October 1938 when the first systematic Bible training school was opened by the Free Methodist Church at Yavatmal, Maharashtra, Western India, with Dr. Frank J. Kline as its first principal. In 1953 the UBS was officially constituted as a joint effort of eleven mission and church groups. The seminary was relocated in 1983 to the new campus in Pune. The campus is on a beautiful hillock, overlooking the city. We now offer BD (Bachelor of Divinity), MTh (Master of Theology in OT, NT, Theology, Missions, Christian Ministry), and DTh (Doctor of Theology), with affiliation from the Senate of Serampore University (SSU). All these programs are in English. We offer BBS (Bachelor of Biblical Studies) and MDiv (Master of Theology) in English, Hindi, and Marathi languages, with accreditation from Asia Theological Association (ATA). We also offer courses on women studies and children ministry. Our training is bible-centered, evangelical, and interdenominational with emphasis on the ethnic, linguistic, and cultural aspects of South Asian context. The total number of students is almost 1,200. For more details, visit the website here.

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

While all the Senate of Serampore University programs are residential and full-time, the Asia Theological Association programs are part-time.

4) How do The Union Biblical Seminary students fund their studies?

UBS Picture 2Mostly the students are supported by the denominational churches, mission organisations, and funding agencies.

5) Does The Union Biblical Seminary take students from overseas?

Yes, we have a tradition of taking students from Bangladesh, Nepal, Korea, and other Asian nations. At the same time we are open to have students from other parts of the world. Our faculty representation from different Asian countries, America and Europe might help us to accommodate students from any parts of the world.

6) What type of ministry is The Union Biblical Seminary intended to prepare students for?

UBS trains future pastors for different denominational churches, academicians for theological institutions, mission leaders and office bearers for NGOs and other organizations, and through our extension programs a large number of lay leaders in India and overseas.

7) When students leave The Union Biblical Seminary what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

The students who are trained in the residential sessions usually go for full-time pastoral, mission, and ministerial and cross-cultural engagements, academic and leadership positions, pioneering and church planting ministries, slum and urban missions, bible translation, and the like. But those trained through the extension department are divided into two categories: first, those who choose to do full-time pastoral engagement; and second, those who stay in their secular professions and serve the humanity in different capacities as servant-leaders.

8) What is distinctive about what The Union Biblical Seminary offers compared with other colleges in India and overseas?

UBS Picture 1 UBS is one of the leading evangelical theological institutions in South Asia. The motto of the seminary, i.e., “Committed to wholistic training of servant-leaders and scholar-saints for a biblio-centric ministry in a contemporary world”, speaks about its three-fold (i.e., biblical, spiritual, and practical) ministerial commitment. The UBS is unique in the sense that it represents evangelical Christians from almost all the major Indian ethnic, linguistic and cultural groups as well as from other countries. The dynamic principle of ‘unity in diversity’ finds expression in everyday experience based on the solid foundation of the person of Jesus Christ, to whom every member of the UBS family is committed. The vision of UBS from its founding is the fulfilling of the Great Commission in the contemporary socio-economic, cultural and religious context of India. This involves training committed men and women to become more effective ministers and mission leaders who will facilitate the Indian Church in fulfilling its calling. In other words, the Seminary sees itself as the handmaid of the Indian Church, and this self-understanding is reflected in all it seeks to do.

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

We have one of the best theological libraries in South Asia, especially in India, with many of the modern research facilities. We have recently started a research and resource centre in addition to the old facilities.

10) Does The Union Biblical Seminary offer a distance or on-line learning option. If yes, please tell us more about it.

We seriously think of starting on-line courses in the immediate future. But our extension department is widely spread in India, other Asian countries, Middle East, Europe, and United States of America.

My thanks to Dr Thomaskutty for his fascinating contribution to the series. You can read more about Johnson’s work on this blog, which you will find here.

Blog Interview: Dr Pieter Lalleman – Spurgeon’s College, London

Dr Pieter Lalleman

There has been a post circulating on the Internet (you can read it here) of a list of 15 Top Colleges for Studying the Bible which has been attracting a good deal of attention. The criteria used to arrive at this particular ranking are not explained and no institutions outside of the US are listed, so the list is not particularly helpful. So, in order to give potential Bible school applicants a wider perspective of the range of training courses available to them I going to invite a number of faculty members from Bible Colleges in the UK and overseas to share something about what their College has to offer.

The institutions featured in the posts appear randomly, so no “ranking” of any kind is to be implied by their order.

Rev Dr Pieter Lalleman

My first interviewee is Dr Pieter Lalleman of Spurgeons College in South London, UK.

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Spurgeon’s College.

My name is Pieter Lalleman.  I am the Academic Dean and also tutor of New Testament at the College.

2) Tell us a little about Spurgeon’s College.

The College was founded by C.H. Spurgeon in 1856 and moved to Upper Norwood in 1923.  We now offer a BA in Theology and MTh courses validated by the University of Manchester.  We have an MA for people whose first degree is not in theology and we offer the research degrees of DMin, MPhil and PhD (validated by the University of Chester).  On Saturdays we offer the ‘Equipped to Minister’ course for lay people in the churches, and we have accredited counselling courses.  The latest addition is a general BA for those who just want to do theology in a warm, evangelical environment.  The total number of students is almost 1000.

Spurgeon’s College

 

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

The Higher Education courses are available both full-time and part-time; the others are all part-time.

4) How do Spurgeon’s College students fund their studies?

Many courses are designated so that students can claim student loans and benefits. Often the churches contribute to the training of their members.

5) Does Spurgeon’s College take students from overseas?

Yes, in fact we have a tradition of doing so.  We have Highly Trusted Sponsor status so overseas students are welcome.

6) What type of ministry is Spurgeon’s College intended to prepare students for?

We train future pastors and well as lay people for mission and ministry in the UK and overseas.

7) When students leave Spurgeon’s College what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into?

The full-timers normally become ministers, church planters or evangelists.  But the majority of students are part-time and they stay in their jobs, better equipped to serve where they are.

8) What is distinctive about what Spurgeon’s College offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?

We are a Baptist college but our staff and students represent the diversity of the churches in London.  We are attracting many from Black Majority and Ethnic churches, including busy ministers who never had much training.  Our warm atmosphere and London location makes us a natural choice and we have excellent relations with the local churches.

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

Spurgeon’s College Library

The library was fully refurbished recently and is one of the best in the South East.  It has the latest technology.

10) Does Spurgeon’s College offer a distance or on-line learning option?  If yes, please tell us more about it.

Three of our courses can be taken entirely online: the BA, the Church Training Initiative for lay people and the master’s on Radical Free Church Movements.

My thanks to Rev Dr Pieter Lalleman. If you are a member of faculty at a Bible College or Seminary and would like to see you institution featured in future posts, please get in touch – rob[dot]bradshaw[at]gmail[dot]com.