More than 600 Global South church leaders training with Barnabas Aid’s The Shepherd’s Academy

26 July 2023

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Barnabas Aid’s The Shepherd’s Academy (TSA) is providing theological and pastoral training for more than 600 grassroots church leaders in the Global South.

These students represent more than 30 countries. Each student is linked to one of our TSA study centres, of which there are now 20 in 12 countries.

TSA programmes combine self-study, online classes and in-person tutorials at these local study centres.

Grassroots church leaders hard at work in the library of The Shepherd’s Academy study centre in South Sudan – one of 20 TSA study centres in 12 different countries. TSA programmes combine self-study, online classes and in-person tutorials at these local study centres 

TSA is the undergraduate section of Barnabas Academia, which is also known as the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life (OCRPL).

It provides training opportunities for church leaders who often struggle to access formal training or education to support them in their God-given calling as leaders of the church.

Recent statistics indicate that more than five million church planters and pastors across the Global South have not had the opportunity for proper training.

This can limit the effectiveness of even the most faithful under-shepherds of the Lord’s flock. Strong and well-equipped leaders help to strengthen and build up the faith of all Christians.

As the Church grows rapidly, younger believers can find themselves in positions of spiritual leadership and oversight far earlier in their walk with the Lord than is often the case in the West. Such courageous and godly individuals need help and support to fulfil their burden of responsibility.

Furthermore, in some countries it is required by law that church leaders have appropriate formal qualifications in order to engage in ministry.

Training a new generation of leaders

Of the church leaders registered with TSA, around 400 are undertaking short courses (such as “Unveiled: A Christian Study Guide to Islam”) while a further 200 are studying for an undergraduate degree.

“TSA has helped me in my ministry in a tremendous way,” said Pastor Oliver Chaplain, a church leader in South Sudan. “My understanding of the Word of God was seriously challenged and shaped. … I am able to teach and guide people in the church more effectively than before.”

“I know that I would not have had the opportunity to undertake this kind of training without The Shepherd’s Academy,” he adds.

“I thank God for this wonderful opportunity,” said “J.V.”, a South Asian church leader undertaking a TSA short course. “The Shepherd’s Academy … helped me to correct myself in many areas.”

“We aim to train a new generation of leaders,” explains Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Aid and Executive Director of the OCRPL.

“Our mission is to form in them the character and integrity that will give them the foundation to face their challenges, find hope in hopeless situations and counter untruth with truth.”

Give thanks for the training opportunities afforded to church leaders through The Shepherd’s Academy. Pray that the Lord through His Holy Spirit will use this ministry to equip a new generation of leaders for their calling as under-shepherds of Christ’s flock.

Project reference: PR1499 (The Shepherd’s Academy)

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