The strategy behind Overseas Council Australia is simply this:
Choose the best theological college within a context, with strong governance and accountability: support the college with funding and resources, to enable it to do what it does best, so that the college in turn becomes an enabler and leader to other neighbouring colleges to assist them to become leaders and enablers to others also. Through this process thousands of new leaders are trained each year for work in the church as pastors, evangelists and church planters.
THE BIG PICTURE OF OCA
It’s a strategy which recognises that in most countries there is an existing competent church. In many ways the efforts of mission societies over the past two hundred years has been a success and so a church not only exists but now is able to raise up its own leaders. By supporting leading Bible colleges more competent church leaders can plant new churches, train more leaders and head up missions in their own area.
In many parts of the world there is very fast growth of the church and what is needed most is a supply of competent leaders to ensure the church matures in line with the Word of God and in a way that is sensitive to the local context. OCA chooses partner colleges that have these two concepts at the heart of their training: the Scriptures and the context.
At this time Australian Christians have a wonderful opportunity to partner with the church in the developing world by assisting with the training of leaders. Who knows how God will lead his people in the decades ahead and which church will support which, but for now we are able to assist with our finances, our prayers and in other ways. The relationship that OCA encourages allows for Christians in Australia to be blessed through the partnership with his servants in the developing world.
By building up Bible colleges in each country several systemic problems are avoided: the brain drain to the West of the church’s best leaders is undermined; future leaders learn ministry in a context which is relevant to their actual ministry, rather than learning irrelevant concepts from another context, and; the local church is seen as belonging to the country and not an alien Western thing.
OCA contributes to each college in deep dialogue with the local leaders. We do not have a cookie cutter agenda of how things should proceed. We do not start Bible colleges, own Bible colleges, nor go on their boards. Rather we come alongside the leaders and encourage them in their strategic plans so that their vision is bolstered and the church prospers at every level.
Our strategy is a little different from many other missions and we invite discussion and questions about how we do things and why we do them. You may like to read further about the big picture vision of our work in the article ‘The two hundred year goal of Overseas Council’.