FOSTERING CHRISTIAN GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT THROUGH INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION & LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
In today’s world the forces of globalization and the growing influence of religion in world affairs have created both opportunities and challenges for Christian international service and ministry. Old strategies for the transformation of individuals and societies need to be reevaluated and adapted to the new geopolitical and socioeconomic realities of a more complex, interdependent and multicultural global environment. Positive and productive change to advance God’s Kingdom requires new generations of Christians who need not only sound theological training, but also a whole range of intercultural competencies, knowledge of global issues, and servant-leadership abilities.
Although there is much to be thankful for and celebrate in life, it is clear that we continue to live in a needy and hurting world. One only has to spend an evening viewing the news to see the critical global problems that are impacting our lives and those of millions of others each day: growing political polarization and conflict, increasing economic disparities, unrelenting violence in the Middle East, religiously-motivated terrorism, widespread poverty, the developing eco-crisis in emerging countries such as China and India…. The list is long and disturbing and begs the question: how should we as individual Christians and the Church respond to these urgent issues?
Christians are well positioned and equipped to provide the type of leadership that the world desperately needs today in order to solve many of these challenging problems. Mature Christians espouse a philosophy of love and forgiveness that is essential for all types of reconciliation efforts to resolve long-standing political, ethnic, and religious conflicts. Christians also have nurtured a deep sense of compassion for the poor, the hurting and the oppressed that has translated into humanitarian ministries that have substantially improved the physical and spiritual lives of millions of people throughout the centuries.
We believe though, that for Christians to maximize their transformational potential they need to engage in international service not only in the context of traditional missions but also within the broader arena of international affairs including such areas as: peacemaking and reconciliation, foreign relations and diplomacy, sustainable economic development, international business, international education, environmental stewardship, human rights and religious freedom, and global health care and disease prevention.
In order for Christians to practice this type of comprehensive global engagement they must have more than just sound Biblical training, spiritual maturity, and professional skills. They must also have a broad understanding of regional cultures, and the role that religion plays in political, economic, and social affairs. Over the years, international education programs have proven to be one of the most effective ways to train and equip new workers for the complexity and challenges of global service.
The founders of CFGE strongly believe that Christians who have the leadership potential and a calling for intercultural service at home or abroad should have international education programs specifically and intentionally designed to meet their needs. Therefore, we have created a unique Christian organization, the Center for Faith & Global Education that offers an innovative faith-based approach to cross-cultural training, the study of international affairs, and critical global issues.
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.