The training of leadership for the Church of Jesus Christ is one of the most significant of all Christian educational activities. Unfortunately however few instructors at theological seminaries in the Middle East and beyond have had the opportunity to be trained in education, and there is a consequent tendency for instructors to revert to often ineffectual traditional modes of instruction. To help remedy this situation, the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) established an Educational Ministries Resource Centre in October 2007 with the specific remit of providing human and material resources for facilitating excellence in strategic educational ministry in the Middle East and beyond.
The Resource Centre seeks to serve the church through a four-pronged mandate:
(1) The empowerment of the church in Arab world, and in particular Syria and Lebanon. This is accomplished through the promotion and development of:
Networking. There are currently a large variety of ministries taking place in Syria and Lebanon. However, networking between these ministries is often poor. Members of the EMRC Team play strategic roles in bringing together ministry leaders both locally and regionally.
Training. Members of the EMRC Team work with local churches and denominations in the curricular development and delivery of training conferences.
Publishing. The ABTS EMRC has played a strategic role in the development of a CD of original Arabic-language Christian children’s songs, a youth ministry resource book entitled “Developing Ministry Among Youth,” and the translation and publication of Starting Right, one of the most significant texts in youth ministry produced in the past 30 years.
Web-Based Resources. Emerging generations are becoming less-interested in published materials, and increasingly looking for readily-available resources on the web. In response the EMRC has been devoting the bulk of its finances to developing quality web-based educational resources in Arabic. These materials are available free of charge from the ABTS Arabic-medium website (http://www.abtslebanon.com/emrc/). Among the most popular resources are locally-produced children’s seasonal dramas, including script, director’s guide, musical notes, songs with and without words in MP3, and short video-clips showing actions for the songs. We have also developed a number of games and crafts in Arabic. The website additionally provides thoughtful articles on educational ministry in Arabic.
(2) Strengthening the quality of education at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, and in particular the facilitation of the creative new ABTS curriculum.
(3) Facilitating faculty training conferences in the Middle East and beyond.
(4) Development of a resource library of materials in English and Arabic. These are currently held in the ABTS Finlay Graham Memorial Library, which has one of the finest collections of resources in educational ministries in the Middle East.
Further information on the Resource Center can be found in the most recent EMRC Annual Report, or by contacting members of the EMRC Team, Perry Shaw and Arthur Brown.