With the migration of peoples and cultures across the globe today, boundaries are shifting and changing the way we do missions. How can we be relevant and effective in the mission field today?
The Asia Gateway Training (AGT) programme equips missionaries, especially those within a pluralistic context in Asia, to effectively live and serve in the mission field. Their flagship one-month residential training will be held from 4-30 June 2023 at Seminari Theoloji Malaysia (STM).
Here, AGT executive director and STM missiology lecturer Dr. Joseph Deva Komar shares more about the programme and what we can look forward to.
Hi, Dr. Joseph. What can we expect from this year’s Asia Gateway Residential Training? Who should sign up?
This year, our one-month residential training programme will be held at Seminari Theoloji Malaysia from 4-30 June 2023 (sign up here). This is an intensive programme laying down a firm foundation in intercultural learning for mission, combining practical experience with theological reflection.
We invite participants from all over, especially from the Asian region to Seminari Theoloji Malaysia for a time of learning and dialogue sessions with different religious groups and also political affiliations.
Participants live together, learning to understand the strangeness of the different other and appreciating that learning process. Participants would sit one-on-one with resource personnel for a time of sharing and praying together.
This year, our lecturers are:
- Deaconess Dr. Tan Swee Bee, Faculty in Missions at Malaysia Theological Seminary
- Rev Dr. Victor Lee Tat Yan, President of Bible College of Malaysia
- Dr. Berdine Van Den Toren-Lekkerkerker, CMS Mission Partner for mission education in Africa and Asia
- Rev. Dr Joseph Deva Komar, Missiology lecturer, Malaysia Theological Seminary, Executive Director Asia Gateway Training
- Rev. Dr Chan Nam Chen, Executive Director of Asia CMS
While our target participants are those already engaged in a cross-cultural context, our scope is beyond missionaries who are in the field. If you live in a pluralistic context. then we believe that AGT has something to offer you.
Sounds exciting. Could you share how the Asia Gateway Training began?
Short-term and career missionaries were growing in this region and the need to start something indigenous was mooted by a consortium of churches and mission-based organisations in Malaysia that saw the need to equip them.
In 2012, Asia Gateway Training became a reality embracing a fivefold mission agenda:
- To Proclaim the Good News
- Baptise and Nurture new Believers
- Human needs met by Loving Service
- To seek to Transform Unjust Structures of Society
- Safeguard the Integrity of Creation
How relevant is intercultural missions for the Church and wider Christian community today?
Our context, especially the mission field, is pluralistic (having a diversity of different ideas, backgrounds and people).
Our missionaries have to contend with the harshness of leaving their homeland and living in diverse communities that requires them to understand the strangeness of the different ‘other’. By equipping participants with the needed cross-cultural tools, AGT hopes to bridge this divide.
At AGT, we want to be relevant to each given context. While we run programs in Malaysia our objective is to also run regional programmes in other countries. In fact, AGT was able to organise a similar one-month residential training program in Pokhara, Nepal in March 2020.
As such, AGT has developed a model for missional training that has a strong Asian flavour. Our resource personnel are mainly Asians, only about 20% are from Europe or the Americas.
Do you have any other programmes under AGT?
If you have a heart for missions then AGT has something to offer you. We are an equipping entity.
Aside from our annual one-month residential training programme, AGT has initiated an M.A. in Intercultural Studies, a fully-online study programme. It is a highly subsidised programme accredited by Seminari Theoloji Malaysia.
The Asia Gateway Residential Training will be held at Seminari Theoloji Malaysia from 4-30 June 2023. If you have a heart for missions and are in between semesters, making a career switch or praying about entering the mission field, you don’t want to miss this!
Sign up here or for more information, contact Dr Joseph/Dr Tan Swee Bee at firstname.lastname@example.org.