Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rowland Croucher: Creativity in Theological Education

Colourful CV
Rowland Croucher has a long and distinguished record as a pastor, consultant, coach, counselor, teacher, web site minister, blogger and founder and director of John Mark Ministries.

Many of you will have known Rowland through his resourceful web site, which at the last count, had about 2.5 million visitors a month or as a better measure: 8,000+ unique visitors each week-day and 6,000+ most days on weekends.

TWB Par Excellence
As a pastor and now in his retirement, Rowland has served as a theologian without borders, teaching in seminaries and Bible Colleges as a Visiting teacher/Adjunct Professor in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea and India. A popular speaker at Pastor’s Conferences and Retreat Leader, Rowland has encouraged and challenged pastors in more than thirty countries of the world.

Still Available
While Rowland has given up ‘rough land travel’ he is still open to volunteer international ministry so long as oil prices don’t bump the airfares up too high. Do write and sound him out about some possibility (his email address is on his web site) and feel free to use me as a go-between.

Creativity in Theological Education
Rowland has always been a keen observer of seminaries and their influence on pastors. When asked about creativity in this sphere Rowland noted two significant changes:

1. Theological colleges preparing future pastors for pastoral ministry as 'vocational seminaries' rather than purely academic institutions. About 95% of the pastors I talk to can't see the value of Greek, Hebrew, and much of church history in their day-to-day pastoring. They'd have preferred a crash-course in using a lexicon etc. then more 'transferable concepts' of a practical nature. Fortunately this is gradually changing.

2. Pedagogical methodologies moving from 'jug-to-mug' transfer of information, to transformative, interactive, action/reflection, 'redemptive' models of teaching (see Henri Nouwen's excellent little book on this, Creative Ministry, which contrasts redemptive and coercive models of education). And theology 'lectures' (for example) which don't have a 'wow' element to them are, I believe, not conducive to doing much more than equipping people to pass exams rather than pass on something transformative.

Rowland has more creative suggestions on assessment and other topics but these will be included in another posting.

Creative Ideas?
If you have any responses, you are encouraged to make these by clicking on ‘Comment’ below.

If you have some creative things happening in regard to theological education or training, do write to me and we may put these into a new posting on this site.

What about You?
Do let me know if in the immediate or long term future there might be a possibility of you teaching an intensive (one week, two weeks, a month etc) in places such as these countries that are seeking assistance:

N E India

Vietnam

India (This is a visit of encouragement working with several churches)

Myanmar

The dates are often flexible with the ability to accommodate the diary of a visiting teacher. The requests usually expect some speaking with churches and different groups.

Let me know if you would like more information about any of the above places and opportunities. My postings are intentionally basic and lacking in detail and names.

Please pass these needs on to others that might be able to assist in this next year.

If you need information about what TWB is about you can point people to this article on the TWB site, this statement recently posted in the US or this one posted on an Australian web site.

Let me know if you are seeking a teacher or a conference speaker and I can get the word out.

Dr. Geoff Pound
(Chair, Coordinating Committee of TWB)

Image: Rowland Croucher.