Blog Interview: All Nations Christian College – Dr Mark Galpin

Dr Mark Galpin
Dr Mark Galpin

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.

All Nations Christian College
All Nations Christian College

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.

A typical class at All Nations
A typical class at All Nations

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.        

A student at All Nations

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.

Blog Interview: Helen Thorne – London City Mission’s Pioneer Programme

My wife brought my attention to a post of the Affinity website about the training of ministers. She noted that there was a very helpful comment by Helen Thorne or London City Mission and suggested that I contact Helen to interview her for my blog series. Helen has kindly agreed to take part.

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at London City Mission

Helen ThorneMy name is Helen Thorne and I’m the Director of Training and Mentoring at London City Mission.

2) Tell us a little about London City Mission

London City Mission was founded in 1835 with the specific remit of taking the Good News of Jesus to the people of London, especially the poor. The Industrial Revolution created slums where many people lived in physical and spiritual poverty, London City Mission was established to bring them true and lasting hope. Today, our missionaries continue to work among the “least-reached” communities of our capital city – serving alongside local churches to share Jesus with those living on deprived estates, those from other cultures / faiths, those living or working on the streets and those caught up in gang or prison-life.

It’s an exciting ministry but not an easy one so we are committed to offering high-quality training to our staff and to local churches who share a passion for the lost. For newer Christians, we offer a 2-year, one day a week “Foundation Course” covering the basic biblical theology and practical evangelism needed for urban ministry. For more mature Christians, we offer our 2-year, one day a week “Urban Mission Course” which looks at biblical, historical, doctrinal and practical aspects of city mission in more depth. We work in partnership with Moorlands College and The Message Trust to offer a short course in “Christian Community Development and Evangelism” and are the London Hub for Union School of Theology’s Graduate Diploma in Theology. Each year we run a 5-day summer school in urban mission, a series of Practical Evangelism Training days and a range of Muslim Engagement Training courses too.

Our flagship course is our Pioneer Programme. Open to younger Christians from deprived backgrounds who may have few educational qualifications, we offer a 2-year, 3-day a week programme which enables people to access training while staying rooted in their local church. The programme includes lectures, mentoring, practical experience alongside one of our missionaries and a chance to spearhead a pioneering gospel-centred project in their local area.

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

London City Mission Training

All our courses are part-time which means people can stay serving in their local church and work around their studies.

4) How do London City Mission students fund their studies?

We keep our courses low-cost – and there are reduced rates for the retired, unemployed and those working in self-supporting ministry roles so most people can pay fees from their earnings. The Pioneer Programme is unique in that we pay people to train with us! Places are limited to about 10 a year but we love to serve local churches in this way.

5) Does London City Mission take students from overseas?

Usually our students are already living within commuting distance of London. International students who are interested in courses – particularly the summer school – should contact the training department for more details.

Pioneer Programme class

6) What type of ministry is London City Mission intended to prepare students for?

All our courses are designed to equip people for mission within the least-reached communities of the city. Our students range from new Christians with no qualifications to pastors who want to supplement their degrees – it’s a wonderful mix of people who can sharpen each other well.

7) When students leave London what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into?

Our aim is to equip people to serve where they are. We are passionate about training our own staff and volunteers – we are passionate about training people who want to serve better within their local church. A few of our students go off to serve in other mission agencies too and it’s a privilege to have equipped them.

LCM Pioneers May 2017

8) What is distinctive about what London City Mission offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?

Our focus on part-time courses that concentrate on reaching the least-reached communities in our urban setting, welcome people with no prior learning and leave people embedded in their local chur

ch is a pretty unique combination. We hope and pray that’s a great spur to the church’s call to “equip the saints for works of service”

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

We’re working on the establishment of an Urban Mission library  … but we’re not quite there yet!

10) Does London City Mission offer a distance or on-line learning option?

Check back in 2019!

To read more blog interviews click here

Blog Interview – Dr Tim Davy – Redcliffe College

This week I interviewed Dr Tim Davy of Redcliffe College.

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Redcliffe College

Dr TIm Davy of Redcliffe College
Dr Tim Davy

I am the ‘Research Fellow’ at Redcliffe College. This means I do teaching and research, mainly in the area of the Bible and mission. A big part of my role is encouraging colleagues and students to get their research known and used by the global Church.

2) Tell us a little about Redcliffe College

This year is Redcliffe’s 125th anniversary. In recent years we have made some big changes (e.g., moving away from a traditional residential model), while retaining a clear vision of what we believe we have been called to do. Today we are focused on equipping women and men for cross-cultural service through a number of taught MA programmes. You could describe them as vocational and professional development for people passionately engaged in God’s mission. Our main courses are MAs in Contemporary Missiology (with optional specialisms in Bible and Mission, Scripture Engagement, European Mission, and Justice, Advocacy and Reconciliation); Leadership in a Complex World; Member Care; and (through our partnership with Wycliffe Bible Translators) Field Linguistics; and Language Programme Development.

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

All of our courses are part-time, with an emphasis on combining intensive teaching blocks and supported learning by distance. The Linguistics and LPD programmes involve longer periods on-site: usually up to five months at a time. The Missiology, Leadership, and Member Care courses usually involve two three-week schools for the face-to-face class-time, although can involve a long-weekend mode as well.

We’ve been excited to launch a hub in Oceania this year, with a cohort of Member Care and Leadership students beginning their studies in January in Sydney. This coming January they will be back together for the next teaching block along with new students, this time in New Zealand.

Redcliffe Colege Building

4) How do Redcliffe’s students fund their studies, and do you take students from overseas?

Our students come from the UK and from around the globe! They tend to fund their studies through a range of sources, and often a combination of things like personal savings, ministry support, organisational sponsorship, fundraising and trusts, and so on. We also have some finance available that students can apply for that can contribute to the costs.

Blog Interview - Dr Tim Davy - Redcliffe College 1

5) What type of ministry is Redcliffe intended to prepare students for?

The LibraryI think our students reflects the diversity that is mission today. They are from all over, and are involved in mission in a multiplicity of ways. Because of the nature of the programmes they are often already in a role, and so the courses are helping them to continue and develop in that role. They may be involved in Church planting and evangelism, justice and advocacy work, media, literacy and education, student ministry, Bible translation, member care, Scripture Engagement, working with refugees and asylum seekers, and all kinds of leadership roles.

I absolutely love it when I see students wrestling with issues in their roles or contexts, and then passing on the fruit of their thinking in really applied ways.

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

I think our main distinctives are the type of programmes we offer and the way that people can access them. I really love the way the programmes combine deep learning with ministry reflection. The best thing I can do to illustrate this is to quote a recent graduate:

‘Doing a Masters in Member Care at Redcliffe has been vitally important in my ministry development. I appreciated the rigorous academic framework, and the friendly staff who were approachable and available. I am able to apply many aspects of the course to my day-to-day ministry, and it gave me the confidence to bring about changes in member care practices that I believe help ensure that members stay healthy, resilient and effective as they seek to be church in places where there is no church.’

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

As well as the on-site library in Gloucester we have been investing an increasing amount in electronic resources. Students spend a very small proportion of the duration of their programme physically on-site so it is essential that they have access to excellent online resources.

We subscribe to online journal collections and ebooks. We’ve also been delighted to work with Theology on the Web on the project to digitise out-of-copyright mission books.

One of our biggest investments has been to subscribe to Sage Research Methods [SRM], which is an amazing resource for students and staff. A great thing about SRM is that students can continue to access it after graduating as well.

Mission books from Redcliffe College for Digitisation
Redcliffe College is working with Theology to the Web in a project that will see hundreds of public domain books on mission digitised