School of Intercultural Studies
Higher Education for Intercultural Ministry: Its Character and Purpose
We at the School of Intercultural Studies (formerly World Mission) at Fuller Theological Seminary believe that God calls Christians of every continent and culture to the task of making Jesus Christ known and loved throughout the world. As evidence of this call, there is an unprecedented responsiveness in many populations. Because of the rapidly growing non-Western Christian missionary movement, Christian ministry is now the most international, interracial, and intercultural movement in history. The School of Intercultural Studies aims to be a resource for this growing movement.
Furthermore, Christian witness today is being carried on in the midst of tremendous revolutionary changes affecting every aspect of human life. Many of the assumptions under which our ancestors labored have been swept away. Christian witness today has radically new ground on which to operate: advances in knowledge; changing political alignments; escalating developments in technology; increased awareness of injustice; global effects of poverty; massive migration; clashing of the world’s major religions; and the end of Christendom. Education for Christian witness must prepare believers to share their faith in both word and deed in this new world.
In the midst of such changes, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This unique calling of Christ continues to result in the multiplication of believers and churches to the ends of the earth.
However, in each situation the Church is to be shaped in a way that affirms and utilizes the most positive aspects of the culture. New believers should not be torn out of their cultural matrix and forced to become “foreign” in order to become followers. In every context, the gospel brings a message of hope that both empowers and transforms.
The goal, then, of the School of Intercultural Studies for the twenty-first century is to equip servant leaders who mobilize the global church for mission.
Globalized Education for Intercultural Studies
The School of Intercultural Studies seeks to help prepare leadership by providing advanced graduate-level education for mid career intercultural workers and mature international church and faith-based agency leaders and by preparing workers for their ministry in a new language and culture.
In order to be effective, people called to communicate the gospel cross-culturally need insight into the theological, historical, biblical, and cultural basis of the Christian faith and its followers globally. Building on that base, further study is needed in the areas of understanding culture, evangelism, knowledge of and approach to non-Christian religions, discipleship, and application of the above in a student’s given ministry and cultural context.
The faculty seeks to accomplish its purpose by developing degree programs and delivery systems that combine academic integrity, professional training, and ministry maturation. These balanced delivery approaches include both residential and extension modes that integrate research and field ministry development. The study of intercultural ministries embraces a vast body of knowledge from a wide range of disciplines. The well-prepared worker should see it as an integrated whole. In presenting this area of study through experiential learning, lectures, reading, and research, two dangers are avoided: a frozen intellectual regimen removed from the fast-moving contemporary scene, and a smorgasbord of “hot” transient emphases. Advanced education must be validated by advanced degrees in intercultural studies, yet the degree program must remain flexible enough to equip the people of God to meet the rapidly changing conditions of the contemporary world.
Multilingual and Multidisciplinary Research and Publishing
The School of Intercultural Studies seeks to facilitate multilingual and multidisciplinary research to support the global witness of the church. The school seeks to encourage and facilitate the publication of the findings of this research not only in English, but also in the languages where the research is done.
Though the discipling of the nations is a chief and continuing goal of Christian witness, much remains to be discovered about how individuals and their specific societies are discipled and formed into mature reproductive churches. In most lands, some churches have broken through to great growth and engaged in transformational service, but these examples are often unknown to other parts of the church. This vacuum in knowledge and training facilities handicaps the entire work of Christ in the world.
To meet this need, therefore, the School of Intercultural Studies emphasizes multidisciplinary intercultural research as an integral part of the education process. This approach to higher education emphasizes discovering and teaching new insights concerning the holistic growth of churches in ways which remain biblically faithful and culturally appropriate.
Leadership in Intercultural Studies
The School of Intercultural Studies provides leadership in theory of intercultural ministry by giving continuing leadership to the multiple disciplines in intercultural studies and calling attention to the unfinished and complex task of bringing people to commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
A center concerned with training leaders must itself be willing, where it can, to provide leadership by challenging the church to undertake the task of global witness to which God has called it, and by providing faith-based agencies with a theology and strategy of witness. The faculty of the School of Intercultural Studies seeks to do this by advocating and conducting research, writing books, speaking at conferences, and encouraging the formation of structures that meet the demands of intercultural witness in the world. The School of Intercultural Studies also seeks to lead in providing education to all who are qualified while reducing the time and place constraints. Thus the School of Intercultural Studies continues to implement new delivery systems through distance, extended, and continuing education.
School Learning Outcomes
In accordance with our commitment to provide the highest level of educational effectiveness possible through a healthy culture of assessment, and in alignment with the Fuller Institutional Student Learning Outcomes, the School of Intercultural Studies offers the following Learning Outcomes:
- Graduates will understand the mission of God and the ministries of the global Church from an evangelical missiological perspective
- Graduates will demonstrate critical thinking and integration skills for the contextualization of the Gospel in order to foster individual and social transformation
- Graduates will demonstrate sensitivity to cultural and ethnic diversity for building relationships and for the communication of the Gospel
- Graduates will have skills and knowledge to pursue vocations that engage the mission of God globally
- Graduates will value the importance of spiritual formation in both its personal and communal dimensions
Degree and Certificate Programs
The School of Intercultural Studies (formerly World Mission) offers the following programs:
- Master of Arts (Intercultural Studies)
- Master of Arts in Global Leadership
- Certificate of Christian Studies
- Certificate in Church Planting
- Certificate in Islamic Studies
- Master of Theology in Intercultural Studies
- Doctor of Intercultural Studies (English and Korean)
- Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies