It’s time for our leaders to wrestle with the future of theology

Can theological training equip you for all of life’s situations? Certainly not. But Regents is giving it a good go, as Director of Training Dave Newton explains.

“They didn’t teach me that at Bible college…”

As I travel the country and spend time with pastors and ministry leaders there is a repeated statement that I often hear. It usually comes after they share a challenge or difficulty, perhaps surrounding a conflict situation or a pastoral issue. After exhausting all the human wisdom they have and dredging the bottom of the pool of fresh ideas, I hear ‘…they never taught me that when I was at Bible college!

Of course, in many instances, it is a true statement… most of the situations in life and ministry in which we find ourselves it would be impossible to prepare for in a classroom. In fact, some would argue that it is only in the classroom of life that we really start to learn what ministry is all about.

There can be an assumption that theological colleges continue to teach the same material they did 30 years ago, and it would be fair to say that some of the core components of theology haven’t changed. For example, it is essential to know how to understand, engage with and interpret scripture, and it would be assumed that an understanding of the core beliefs and doctrines of Christianity are explored and evaluated.

Equally, if you were studying you might expect to learn key skills such as preaching, pastoral care and engagement with some Old and New Testament studies. However, having now spent over three years on the front line of theological education and mission and ministry formation, I have been pleasantly surprised at the breadth, diversity and comprehensive nature of what is taught to theology students.

Here at Regents, in addition to the core components, students will explore emotional health, leadership and management, cultural awareness, handling conflict and how to provide a safe environment in which to practise ministry.

This is key because, in the same way, that society is constantly changing, it is essential that as training providers we advance and equip our students to engage with and understand the new landscape in today’s society.

We cannot run the risk of assuming that things remain the same and that previous understanding alone will be relevant.

As society changes and engages in issues surrounding marriage, identity, sexuality and humanity, the Church needs to hold its own and have a voice in the public square.

As a result of this, Elim has decided that now is the time to gather leaders from across our Movement to wrestle with, discuss and engage with key biblical perspectives on humanity in what is a fluid societal environment.


To facilitate this, Elim – in partnership with Regents Theological College – will be holding our first Theological Conference for more than ten years on 13-14 February 2019.

The Elim Theological Conference will provide space for Elim leaders to engage with thought-provoking presentations and create dialogue around key issues. In our time as pastors and ministry leaders working across one Movement, this is an opportunity to process and develop robust theological thinking in order to inform practice and further the mission.

Be part of this conversation, take some time out from the everyday schedule and help shape the Movement now and into the future.

Find out more at

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