I attended the Asian Theological Association (ATA) meetings in Singapore this past August. I had expected to be impressed by the devotion and diversity of this gathering of over 300 leaders of schools served by the ATA in over 30 countries. I had not expected to be so inspired, even moved to tears, by moments such as when Dr. Ivor Poobalan, Dean of Colombo Theological University, brought out his guitar during a morning devotional and sang a profound lament for those killed in the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka. Three other takeaways stand out for me:
- Under the visionary leadership of Dr. Theresa Lua, the planning team made the bold decision not to have any plenary speakers over the age of thirty-five, in keeping with the theme of reaching emerging generations. The speakers were vibrant younger faculty, pastors, and even one CEO of a digital-learning start-up company. They brought fresh energy, artistic creativity, and strong challenges to their talks.
- My own workshop, on the pros and cons of moving a preaching (or any) course online, had a lot of interest, and many lingered at length as I walked them through a week in the life of a course on Canvas, how we post and offer feedback to sermons, etc. Many schools, especially where pastors are in remote locations (such as rural corners of Nepal and Mongolia) are poised to expand their offerings beyond the classroom locale, and were eager for guidance.
- Finally, it was so inspiring to meet many Fuller grads, who are capably teaching and offering administrative leadership to seminaries and colleges in the Philippines, India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and elsewhere. They spoke with gratitude of what they gained at Fuller. Fuller Theological Seminary's influence has been broad and deep throughout Asia, and meeting them made me proud to be part of the mission of Fuller to serve Christian leaders everywhere.