Adventist education can make a huge difference for the development of our Christian leaders. I had an opportunity to participate in two classes through a partnership of the Chinese Union Mission (CHUM) and the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS). In these classes, we learned about the latest developments and trends in churches throughout China and connected with the struggle and the joys of classmates who have similar experiences in different environments. I witnessed firsthand how education can help with growing the strongest possible ministry leaders.
Developing Personal Quality
In the process of becoming strong leaders, it’s important to include personal growth in areas such as emotional and psychological health, the ability to deal with difficulties and crises, and the ability to apply the knowledge learned. The classes I took helped in these areas.
Understanding the Bible
Due to the lack of professional theological training among the pastors of the Adventist Church in China, many leaders and believers lack a correct understanding of the Bible and accept non-Christian information and views. There are problems with clearly defining the relationship between salvation and the law, understanding the revelation of the Bible, correctly understanding the mission of the Adventist Church, and balancing the relationship between personal salvation and evangelism. Careful study of these issues can correct these problems and strengthen our beliefs.
Understanding Ellen White
The same is true for the understanding of the prophet Ellen White. Some people put Ellen White and her works in too high or too low a position. Through learning, we can understand Ellen White and her works in a correct perspective.
Improving Professional Competence
It is helpful for Adventist ministry leaders to have a comprehensive and balanced understanding of pastoral care, student education, and concrete practice. The AIIAS Chinese Cohort includes study on biblical theology, historical theology, systematic theology and applied theology, as well as courses in education. Personally, the learning helped me move from being a strict teacher to a gentle and a caring teacher, from focusing on the transfer of knowledge to a greater emphasis on life skills.
Carrying Forward the Mission and Gospel
The theology curriculum is also helpful because it emphasizes both theory and practical experience in ministry. I have experienced the joy of inspiring students, and observed the passion of many theologians towards inspiring young people in the Hmong church and elsewhere. When we inspire godliness in our students, they can spread the flame of revival.
The study journey of the AIIAS Chinese Cohort class is wonderful and fruitful. It has infinite value and influence. It helps students develop spiritually, professionally, and in the integration of the core beliefs of Adventists. I believe that this influence will become even more effective in the coming years and bless more churches and lives!