*Dr. David J. Cho and Dr. Dale W. Kietzman when they were alive were best friends. They met in mission and found out they were born on the same year 1924. Dr. Kietzman and Dr. Cho met in 1971 and after that meeting, they have done countless missions together. Their passion is mission and their love is the Lord Jesus Christ. Now both home with their Creator, we celebrate their lives and works!
This paper is being re-published because Dr. Kietzman is paying tribute to AMA, an organization Dr. David J. Cho founded. Dr. Cho always considered Dr. Kietzman as part of AMA and a partner in mission. (Ed.)
When trying to assess the impact of the Asia Missions Association in its 4 decades of existence, with so much that has occurred, I came to realize that the most basic intent of the Association was to try to make the “New Forces in Mission” as effective as possible.What could an association do to increase effectiveness?
I remember that, at the inaugural convention of AMA, Seoul 1975, I was introduced to a concept that I had never heard before: that in fulfilling the missionary commission,we must consider both the activity of sending, and also of receiving missionaries. The concept of “receiving missionaries” had to come from the “third world”, because they had been on the receiving end of the mission equation. Why had not anyone in the West come up with the idea? Simply because it was not a concept useful to Western mission leaders, because missionaries were not coming to their countries from abroad.
The timeliness of the suggestion was in the fact that the Church was now present in most countries, and the Third World church, through its own para-church agencies, should be made ready to “receive” the missionaries coming to them from other countries. There was, in fact, some pairing of mission organizations, as for example, Korean missionaries sent to work under the direction of an Indonesian organization. One could readily see the possibility of the Korean missionaries quickly becoming more effective in their assignments because “insiders” were guiding them. In addition to this time savingaspect, of missionary personnel becoming effective in their service more quickly, there could be a financial savings possible, because the sending board did not have to create the usual on-the-field infrastructure to support their missionaries in a foreign land.
Unfortunately, I think that the “receiving” concept has not been developed as much as it might have been.
I was first introduced to David J. Cho’s thinking at the Green Lake Missions Consultationat Green Lake, Wisconsin in 1971. He was intent on making those American mission leaders present during the Consultation, be aware of the need for new structures that would address the presence of the “new forces” on the mission fields all over the world. I am not sure that most of us present could fully appreciate what he was suggesting; he simply was way out in front of us with his vision.
In 1973, David J. Cho visited the Wycliffe Bible Translators international offices, then located in Santa Ana, California. He was on a search for would be Western professors for the East West Mission Training Center he was developing. We talked about placing a linguistics professor in Seoul year-round. He also was speaking as often as possible in key churches, as much to advocate his ideas on the relationships that needed to be developed between “old” and “new”forces in mission, as to gain support from the American church.
As a result of that visit, I was invited to teach at the Summer Institute of Missions in Seoul in August 1975. So I was present at the Inaugural AMA Convention that year. The leadership of Dr. David J. Cho was evident as he presented new ideas in many areas. Professor Carter McNamara, often identified as an expert on leadership, in an on-line course in administration says this about leadership: “Very simply put, leading is establishing direction and influencing others to follow that direction.” Certainly David Cho was “establishing direction” as he urged Asian mission leaders to adopt novel ideas for their developing impact on world mission.
An All Asia Mission Consultation held in 1973 had called “for the formation of an Asia-wide organization of missions to provide necessary coordination for sending, receiving and placing Asia missionaries.” As the response to that call, the Asia Missions Association had been formed and this was its inaugural convention. The statement adopted at the end of the Convention noted that, “We realize the urgency to mobilize and train these (new) forces”, and so formally created the East West Center for Missions Research and Development, which included the already existing Summer Training program.
Over the next number of years, I was able to be present at the Summer Institute in Seoul, and then at the East West Center campus east of city of Suwon. The number of nationalities present, in addition to the Koreans, was always remarkable. I have valued the contacts that this has given me all over Asia.
THE TWMA AND WORLDLINK
Then came the Fourth Triennial Convention of AMA held in Pasadena, California in 1986, with many African and Latin American leaders present. The most important outcome of that convention, undoubtedly, was the authorization to form a joint commission of Third World Missions. This action resulted in meetings the next two years, hosted by Western Baptist Seminary in Portland, Oregon, at which the Third World Missions Association was formed. The TWMA chose to operate by forming a series of commissions, one of which was an Education Commission. Dr. Seth Anyomi of Ghana was the Chairman, and I the Coordinator. The first meetings of the Commission were hosted at William Carey International University, in Pasadena, where I was at that time a professor. Those first meetings focused on some of the major concepts that were to govern our efforts. Persons invited into these discussions cited a number of concerns not adequately addressed by most traditional and foreign-dominated training programs:
- Maintenance of the spiritual dynamics characteristic of many emerging missionary movements.
- The necessity of perspectives sensitive to Third World leadership in mission.
- Appropriate curricula that can respond to local needs and demands.
- A true international partnership in mission which avoids economic or cultural dominance, and that includes the possibility of on-field training for all arriving missionaries.
A subsequent meeting of the Education Commission was held in conjunction with a TWMA meeting in Portland. The name for the continuing education activity was chosen to be WorldLink University. The incorporation process of this new institution was begun, under the direction of Donald K. Smith, who arranged for International Chancellor Dr. Seth Anyomi to have an office at the seminary in Portland, thus making that city the birthing ground of the new organization.
Not all of the functions of WorldLink were immediately transferred to Portland, however. Working from the offices of Dr. Cho’s Korean International Mission, located at the U. S. Center of World Missions, Dr. Myrna Funtecha began the task of contacting Bible Institutes, seminaries and colleges, to keep them abreast of developments and to process their applications to become associated with WorldLink. At that time, the intent of WorldLink was to find a way to achieve accredited status in the United States, then to extend the advantages of accreditation to all its member schools.
Unfortunately, we never achieved that goal. The accrediting bodies wanted at least half of the course work of any student to occur in the United States; but that countered a basic premise we were working on, and that was that students should not have to undertake the very expensive process of traveling to and living in America as a prerequisite for achieving a first class education before entering into ministry.
Eventually the decision was made to abandon that particular emphasis. WorldLink became a part of the new effort of Dr. Smith, who had laid the foundations for the Worldview Center in Portland. There a limited number of students are completing each year a Masters program in Intercultural Leadership. The leaders of WorldView Center believe that cooperative learning best fits the realities of mission work, and so the MA in Intercultural Leadership is designed to add to individual development to better understand ministry realities. Through the dynamic and expanding world of Internet–based educational platforms, most of the MA program is done in the home environment before traveling to Portland to finish the degree.
NEW HOPE IN AFRICA
The frustrated goal of the TWMA Education Commission, that of having U.S. accredited missionary training in campuses abroad, may actually be in the process of being achieved.As a part of my responsibilities in the PhD program at William Carey International University, I had accepted the assignment of being the Major Advisor to a student from Cameroon, a well-experienced leader in the Africa-initiated church movement (AIC) in that country, Andre Talla. One day he was in my office, and I had on my desk a copy of the WorldLink University Prospectus. Andre was curious and asked to read it. His interest was in the fact that he had, for twenty years, led the Worldwide Evangelization and Missions Institute, which had trained 600 church leaders in Cameroon. Many of his graduates had become church planters and pastors for the denomination he had founded, the Life In Christ Bible Churches, which has 85 congregations. He also had organized the Interdenominational Christian Association of Cameroon, which united more than 250 evangelical churches.
Talla had come to William Carey University because he wanted to learn more about International Development. He had realized that many church planted had failed in the villages of Cameroon, not because of a lack of response, but because the village was too poor to ever support a church and her pastor. Eventually the church planter/pastor would have to leave the location because he could not support his (growing) family. A possible solution, Talla reasoned, was for the church planter to be equipped with development skills that would lead to job creation and new micro-enterprises that would help the entire village. Not only would this be an excellent route for acceptance of the church planter and his notion of planting a new thing called a church in the village, but also the increased income in the village and the growing congregation would make his support possible.
His first thought was to add this instruction to WEMI, his existing educational program. So he and I worked out an eight-course certificate program in community development and job creation. But this implied teaching secular subjects which required government approval (that had not been necessary as long as WEMI taught only religious subjects within the context of the church). In the Ministry of Education, officials quickly gave him permission to teach subjects like community development and job creation, but they urged him to go beyond that initial certificate program, and start a university teaching these subjects, a development which these officials felt was badly needed in the country.
At this juncture, Talla was in Pasadena studying, and his new thinking began to seep out in some of the papers he was writing. Ralph Winter, in particular, was extremely interested in this prospect. He had published an article that described Western missions as making a mistake when they began only Bible institutes taught at the academic level of the people with whom they were working. He advocated full university programs, and a rapid growth for the new believers to the same intellectual status as the missionaries—and even beyond that, if possible.
At this point, Talla sought out even more of the records of WorldLink University, and after careful thought, incorporated a whole lot of our thinking into his planning for the new university which he now had the opportunity to build in Africa. On trips back to Cameroon, he communicated much of his thinking with African leaders. The government did issue a full authorization, which was a rather awesome occurrence for all those involved in Cameroon, because the move was completely unprecedented on the part of the government.
The first program put forward by the university (eventually named Dale Kietzman University, somewhat against my will) was an integrated Masters Program in Community Development. It was designed for in-service people, and included the appraisal of the needs of a community selected by each student, the planning of a project meeting the expressed need of the community and its leaders, the development of the project as the course of instruction progressed over a two-year period, and a final write-up and appraisal of the project as far as it could go in the time period of the program.
Since that initial program, Talla has added a number of other specialties to the curriculum, including business management, entrepreneurship, even a complete training program in Physiotherapy, a healing art practically unknown in Cameroon. The goal of each program has in mind the church planter or pastor who could use this training to help his congregational members to make economic progress, and particularly that the “new religion” should be introduced to the village as a positive influence for everyone.
The theological training of pastors is not neglected. Talla is working with a Christian organization in Minneapolis called Training Leadership International. It organizes groups of pastors and seminary professors from America to go to a selected location for a one-to-two week training period offered specifically to pastors. Dale Kietzman University has become the coordinating point for this sort of activity in Central Africa.
Let me add here an interesting note: Dr. Monroe Brewer originated the term WorldLink while he was working on his doctoral thesis on a method by which missionaries could document their learning overseas, in order to apply credit toward a degree when back home with time to study. Brewer was a member of the first Education Commission for TWMA, and he subsequently has served as what he terms “East-West’s ambassador for church-based training.” As the Training & Partnership Facilitator at East-West Ministries, he was able to help found TLI, and now serves on both the board of TLI and of DKU.
One of the more interesting relationships established by Talla as he developed his university program is a friendship with the chief executive officer of one of the largest national accrediting bodies in the United States. In the past, this man had consulted with the government of Cameroon on the development of Higher Education in the country, so he feels very much at home in dealing with the possible accreditation of Dale Kietzman University. There is still a lot of material to cover, and the costs of the process are well beyond the funds normally available to Talla and his crew. We are praying for a miracle to see that come together soon; the implications are enormous.
One of the methods Talla is developing to reach the students, given their very low economic status (pastors in Central Africa are often given $50 a month or less on which to live), is to take the training out to “Learning Centers”, where classes would be taught by a capable local person who has just attended sessions in Douala. This reduces the cost of transportation and housing for the students, who do not have to be far while from home, and bring any tuition down closer to their economic capabilities.
If accredited programs can be carried out to learning centers in Cameroon, then they can also be carried to other countries. It seems reasonable to believe that the long-time dream of AMA/TWMA to provide accredited degree programs for their missionaries and candidates is within the realm of possibility.
This is particularly important for Africa, because the social order is so badly fractured in that continent. I am not thinking just of such matters as the political problems, or of the Christian/Islam divide, or of the hundreds of languages spoken by large groups of people, with some voices now saying we should use native languages in education, rather than the traditional European languages. There is an even more difficult divide, that between the AIC (African Initiated Churches) and Western-founded churches. That divide has worked to keep most AIC pastors outside of sound theological training programs. This could be, perhaps, one more argument for shifting to a university model for all advanced education.
I have recounted a considerable number of stops and starts in our efforts to achieve a valid training program, as somewhat successfully done by AMA, and rather frustratingly attempted by TWMA. Did we learn anything in the process? I think we did, so let me enumerate some of them for you, perhaps not in a logical order:
We need to bypass the “religious exemption” that is usually available to training programs; i.e., as long as you do it in the church and teach only religious subjects, you do not need to tell the government about it. We have it in the US too, a rather automatic permission, or possibly official neglect. We now advocate the university approach.
Even though it is a great temptation to offer every subject a great Western university might offer, it is more economically feasible to limit course offerings initially to the minimum required to produce graduates you can be proud of. Always keep in mind you need to increase their ultimate effectiveness in service.
In so far as possible, avoid a “boarding” situation. Keep the students at home. Use learning centers or distance education programs. Traveling to study just adds travel and housing costs a student cannot afford.
The more frequent use of Learning Centers is to be advocated over centralized programs. In addition to making education economically feasible, it gives many capable young leaders the opportunity to enter into teaching assignments immediately. If you have taught, you realize that you never really learn a subject until you have attempted to teach it.
At the AMA Triennial Convention held in Utsunomiya, Japan, Professors Herbert Brussow and Dale Kietzman presented a rather comprehensive plan for the specific preparation of the cross-cultural worker. This had to be done with whatever came after their seminary or university training. They need to become culturally sensitive, a trait not everyone has naturally. They also need to become self-directed in cultural studies and research, because no one can give adequate training for what a missionary may encounter throughout his career in new places and with strange people. We still would advocate such training.
Back to the beginning: the AMA came into being, in part because the Asian leaders wanted to increase the effectiveness of their forces on the mission field. Without question, they have achieved that goal.
Dale W. Kietzman
Dr. Dale W. Kietzman was Co-founder, with Manuel Arenas of Latin American Indian Ministries. Dr. Kietzman has been a member of Wycliffe Bible Translators since 1946 (now retired). He served in Mexico, Peru, and Brazil, where he was Director from 1956-66. He also served as Director of their home offices in North America. He co-founded Wycliffe Associates and CHIEF-Christian Hope Indian Eskimo Fellowship, and served as International President of World Literature Crusade/Every Home for Christ from 1986-89. After retirement, he served as Director of the Training Division of the U S Center for World Mission and Executive Vice President of William Carey International University, 1989-1992, and Professor of Intercultural Communication until 2009. He served as Chancellor of Dale Kietzman University, Douala, Cameroon.