Today I am continuing a series of interviews with the faculty members of Bible Colleges around the world.
1) Please introduce yourself and your role at All Nations Christian College
My name is Mark Galpin and I teach poverty and justice studies and also leadership here at All Nations. I also head up the Postgraduate Programme. I have served here for three years and prior to that served with my family in Nepal.
2) Tell us a little about All Nations.
All Nations Christian College exists to train men and women for effective participation in God’s mission to his multicultural world. Over the years we have trained and sent out thousands of people to countries all over the world who have worked in diverse ministries.
3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?
We have a number of short courses (10 weeks; 5 days) and an Undergraduate Programme in Biblical and Intercultural Studies which are full-time. Our MA degree can be done full-time over 11 months, or part-time over 2 years or as a distance learning course over 3 years.
4) How do All Nations students fund their studies, and do you take students from overseas?
Many All Nations students raise their own funds to come and study here. Others are funded by their churches or mission agencies. UK citizens can also access student loans for both the BA and MA courses. We have students from all over the world. Currently we have students from about 25 countries, and many come from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.
5) What type of ministry is All Nations intended to prepare students for?
The All Nations focus is to prepare people for cross-cultural mission, either in their own country (including the UK) or further afield. We are committed to a holistic understanding of mission and students are equipped for a broad range of ministry including church-planting, evangelism, Bible translation, community development and discipleship, among others.
6) What is distinctive about what All Nations offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?
All Nations is distinctive from other Bible colleges in the UK in its focus on cross-cultural mission. Mission is not one topic among many but the focus of everything we do. Our learning ethos is focused on ‘head, hearts and hands’ so we have both an academic and a practical emphasis to our training and want to see all our students transformed during their time here at All Nations. All our courses have a strong Biblical and theological foundation, and an emphasis on personal and spiritual formation and cross-cultural and anthropological understanding. We also have a range of modules including those focusing on the arts in mission, understanding other religions, poverty and justice, and leadership.
7) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities
With 60,000 books, papers, maps and audio-visual items and periodicals, the All Nations library is one of Europe’s largest collections of Biblical, theological and missiological material, with particular emphasis on intercultural and mission studies. The details of 45,000 journal articles are indexed on the library’s catalogue, searchable by subject or key word.
Research is integrated into our undergraduate and postgraduate courses. At postgraduate level we have a significant emphasis on research, with a 15,000-word dissertation worth 60 credits from a total of 180 credits. Students have a dedicated supervisor and modules to equip them with the tools and knowledge they need to carry out their research.
8) Does All Nations offer a distance or online learning option? If yes, please tell us more about it.
Yes, we do. Our MA can be accessed both residentially and remotely. However, the mechanism for online students is quite different from many other institutions, as we use ‘Zoom’ technology and have a unified cohort of both residential and online students. Students from all across the world attend lectures in real time, and interact with each other face-to-face through the video conferencing facility. This leads to an incredibly rich learning experience as students come from very different cultural backgrounds and work in a huge diversity of contexts and ministries, but have in common a passion for mission. As one student put it: ‘I was expecting a distance learning course, but this is non-distance learning’! We also have a number of online short courses for people just starting their involvement in cross-cultural mission.