Last month I had the privilege of teaching New Testament Survey in the Bahamas.
I know, I know! I hesitated posting a Facebook status or telling anyone where I was going to teach because I would invariably get, the “Oh, I see you are really suffering for Christ,” jokes. To which I would reply, “Well, Bahamians need Christ too you know.” 🙂
The truth is that even though I was a bit spoiled (since my hosts put me up in one of those fancy all you can eat and drink resorts), I was pretty much intensely working most of the time I was there. (No, seriously, I didn’t even have time to take in a windsurfing lesson!)
Teaching the New Testament in the Bahamas
I spent one week in the Bahamas, teaching an intensive class in New Testament Survey.
Intensive classes have the same requirements as semester courses, however, students must fulfill certain reading / homework / exam requirements before or after the class.
The lecture portion, where I come in, ran for 30 hours straight.
Let me tell you, that is intense. Our schedule ran from 6-10 PM on Mon, Tues, Wed, Thur evenings, Friday all day, and Saturday half day. Whew!
My Bahama students (38 in all) were all very sharp, many of them working as bi-vocational ministers. Thus, I had doctors, lawyers, professors, business owners, bankers, you name it in my class and they came prepared with many questions and lots of input.
I must say this, if those students are representative of Bahamians, then that country has a very bright future. No wonder the country is so prosperous.
The Bigger Picture
In the bigger scheme of things, I taught my class on behalf of Gordon-Conwell’s Hispanic Ministries Division.
Currently, they are developing an off-sight master’s degree in Christian Leadership with the Church of God of Prophecy (COGOP), one of the oldest Pentecostal denominations in the U.S with over 2,000,000 members worldwide.
This 5 year program is being rolled out in different parts of the world (U.S., Central and South America, South Africa, and Korea) and represents and attempt by COGOP to provide master’s level theological training to all of their overseers worldwide.
This is an exciting project for two reasons:
#1 – Gordon-Conwell receives real world, practical experience in developing and administering a master’s level program for the majority world (i.e. outside of U.S. and Europe)
#2 – The Church of God of Prophecy (COGOP), benefits by sending their bishops, pastors and church leaders through a rigorous, theological educational program, which for many students, represents their first foray into this level of academic and theological preparation.
Both COGOP and Gordon-Conwell have been delighted with the progress being made and the training in the Bahamas was part of this overall larger project.
Teaching Fulfills PhD Mentoring Requirement
Finally I should mention that my teaching was also fulfilling a portion of my PhD Mentorship Program requirements. This program run by Gordon-Conwell’s CUME campus, is set up to develop minority scholars and professors guiding them through the PhD dissertation and providing opportunities to teach in a graduate level context.
This course was part of that experience.
This reminds me. I didn’t have much time to work on my research during the Fall, given my recent transition to Colombia; however, I am now back at it part-time here at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia. Thus, my time is split between teaching and writing my dissertation.