Vessels of His Joy
October 17, 2023
October 2023 Newsletter: Vessels of His Joy
October 17, 2023

A Fellowship of Believers

The Annual Two-week Residency

At ABTS, we believe that cognitive learning alone is not enough to prepare effective men and women for contextual ministry in the Arab world. The Bible itself targets not only the cognitive aspect of our lives, but also the emotional, behavioral, and spiritual. Similarly, our approach to theological education goes beyond the cognitive to help our students grow affectively and behaviorally, and our curricula are built around this concept of comprehensive leadership formation. As their characters are formed and their minds sharpened, our students are better able to serve their communities holistically, sharing not only the word of God, but also His love and compassion with those around them. Our annual residency is an important opportunity to build community and work on the transformative elements that help the students grow holistically into more Christlike servants of His Kingdom.
The annual residency for the 2023 – 2024 academic year lasted from the 2nd till the 13th of October and was attended by 24 students. During the residency, our first-year students went through an induction period that focused on building new skills that prepared them to continue their studies when they are back home immersed in their ministry contexts. Throughout the induction, new students took the Research Methodology course, were introduced to theological education, studied about spiritual gifts, and learned about the educational philosophy of ABTS. For our continuing students, the residency focused on exposing them to global voices through classes with visiting scholars. They took a course on the impact our cultures have on our faith, focusing on cultures of the Arab world. This course was co-taught by Henning Wrogemann and Yassir Eric. “The course helped us learn how we as new churches can easily wound our people while sharing the gospel” shared Zineb, a fifth-year student. “It was important for us to learn how to contend with our cultures in a Christlike manner while also being faithful to the message of the gospel.” During the second week, continuing students took a class on critical thinking by Parush Parushev.

Throughout their residency, students spent a lot of time studying, eating, praying, and worshipping together. They also spent a lot of time outside of the classroom together during the spiritual retreat, the outings, and the meals they shared. This increased contact between the students, faculty, and staff is an important part of community building. “The residency helps us build community in a capacity that we cannot do online” shared Walid Zailaa, Academic Dean at ABTS. He continued:
Having the students join us for two weeks at ABTS gives them the chance to meet the faculty and staff at ABTS and their fellow students. This way, when they go back to their homes to study, they can study with people they know. It allows us to model Christlikeness and thus helps them grow affectively and behaviorally. Having both new and continuing students at Seminary at the same time allows them to learn from each other, exchange experiences, and gain insights into their own journeys. In this way they are not only learning from us but also from each other. Through all of this, they are being formed holistically into effective disciples who are ready to equip other disciples and contribute to the growth of His Kingdom in the Arab world.
It is nice to finally meet the people I have been studying alongside for all these years!” shared Zineb. “It has been intriguing getting to know the intricacies of my classmates. Online platforms really don’t do people justice!”

We thank the Lord for this opportunity to spend so much time with our new and continuing students. Their lives are truly lamps amid the darkness of the world, and seeing how brightly they shine when they are in fellowship is a blessing unlike any other. We pray for our students, that the Lord gives them the strength and perseverance to continue serving His Kingdom amid all the difficulties in the region. We pray that He continues to guide them during their journeys of theological education. Finally, we pray that He keeps us as faithful stewards as we come alongside the Arab Church.