By Ken Sury | Wednesday, June 18, 2008, 11:25 AM
David and Diana Garland, husband and wife deans at Baylor University, have been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to educate and to equip indigenous church leaders for effective, holistic ministry in their home cultures, according to a Baylor release.
The release continues below:
"We believe that such an approach to church leadership is more respectful and sensitive to diverse cultures, is more effective than sending Americans to attempt to provide such leadership as cultural outsiders, and also is far more efficient and cost-effective," the Garlands stated in their proposal.
Diana Garland, dean of Baylor's School of Social Work, and David Garland, dean of Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, said that together the academic units have the opportunity to develop global leaders for missions and ministries and to influence the vision and effective of churches for worldwide ministry. Students in the program will obtain a Master of Social Work/Master of Theological Studies dual degree.
"These leaders and churches will be equipped with graduate social work and theological education to address some of the most widespread challenges facing the world today - poverty, hunger, human trafficking, child welfare, the HIV/AIDS pandemic - a list limited only by our vision, knowledge, commitment and ability to garner resources for the work," said Diana Garland, whose school currently has 11 international graduate students.
The initiative also provides a unique opportunity for individual churches to partner with the School of Social Work and Truett Seminary to cover costs for an international student.
"This is a chance for the local church to re-imagine global missions and its role in that ministry," said David Garland. "As Baptists, we have always taught and lived our missional commitment, but with the help of the Luce Foundation, we now can do that in a way that assures excellent preparation for the missionary who takes this knowledge and passion back to his or her home country and works to transform lives and communities."
The Garlands hope the program will grow with support from other donors. It costs $18,000 annually to support an international student, which includes $16,000 living stipend and $2,000 indirect costs for Baylor University.
"We want these indigenous leaders to be equipped for ministry that is sensitive to the holistic needs of persons and also tackles the systemic forces that oppress many of God's children," Diana Garland said.
The School of Social Work will seek a Director of Global Mission Leadership, who will examine the school's curricula and guide the faculty's infusion of cross-cultural content throughout the dual-degree courses of study. This position initially will support the Luce initiative but is part of the School's larger vision of preparing American students for world leadership and service.
Based in New York City, the Luce Foundation approves more than $30 million of new grants each year in program areas that include theology, American art, higher education, East and Southeast Asia, and women in science.