Local Leaders In Context

Local Leaders In Context

The bigger picture of training leaders.

Local Leaders International and our OC Network affiliates have a unique role in building the capacity of the church in the Majority World so that it has the leaders it needs today. Here we explain the broader context of training men and women for God’s work and finish with the unique role that Local Leaders International has in the world.

Which denominations?

There are four main groupings of Christians in the world and each have their own formal seminaries, university departments of theology, and Bible colleges, as well as many training programs around the world. On top of these four there are various independent churches which vary in theology including Evangelicals, Pentecostals and some theologically syncretistic indigenous churches.


Local Leaders concentrates on partnering with training institutions and programs that are primarily members of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). Indeed, Local Leaders has adopted the same Statement of Faith as the WEA.

In Africa we work with the Anglican church’s Bible colleges which are Evangelical in commitment but are formally part of the World Council of Churches.

While a few of our partner colleges would have students from (and good relationships with) Catholic and Orthodox Christian backgrounds, we do not support any colleges operated by these groups.

Which Bible College?

We have three key criteria for the colleges we choose. We are looking to support colleges which are faithful to the scriptures, have reasonable governance and are the most strategic in their region or country.

Local Leader’s three selection criteria

Theological – Evangelical commitment to the Scriptures and Christ as saviour.
Governance – Reasonable governance to give confidence about management and finances.
Strategic – The influential colleges in each country, thus multiplying the value of our investments.

These Bible colleges tend to innovate. They are grounded in their local area. They reach across denominations for faculty and students. They are missional in their focus. Their students plant churches and pastor growing ministries.

Just Bible Colleges?

At an earlier phase Local Leaders concentrated just on Bible colleges and more formal degree studies. As we have grown, and the institutions we work with have grown, we are expanding our ability and desire to help with every form of training for pastors from the grassroots through to the PhD’s who write the textbooks to train the thousands in their country.

Who else?

Local Leaders is part of a matrix of organisations working in this area including accreditation agencies, funding organisations and a range of bodies which provide just one or a couple of services to the Bible colleges.

Accreditation agencies

In some countries Bible colleges must be accredited by their national government, but where that is not possible, and sometimes where it is, many look to another international body for accreditation and training in their academic activities. The WEA has a commission called ICETE (International Commission for Evangelical Theological Education). ICETE is a peak body for eight accreditation agencies, such as the Asia Theological Association. These eight agencies accredit over 1,200 Bible Colleges globally. Local Leaders works closely with ICETE on a number of projects to strengthen its work.

Funding organisation

There are small groups of foundations which work directly with Bible colleges. While many of these limit their involvement just within their own denomination, there are a few which contribute more broadly into the ICETE colleges, or within some other group.

Single Concept Partners

There are many organisations which provide support to theological colleges in just one or a few areas e.g.
Theological Book Network – provide excellent new and used books for many colleges.
Development Associates International – provide courses and teachers so that Bible colleges can run management courses for Christian leaders.
Langham Partnership – provide for colleges in the area of library, preaching skills and faculty development.
Horizon Education Network – provide training courses for colleges in pedagogy (theory of teaching and learning) and online course construction.

Local Leaders International

What is Local Leaders’ contribution?

Local Leaders, and the four others in the OC Network (NZ, USA, Canada, Europe) are the only organisations which work with the whole institution in the whole of its ecosystem. We don’t just focus on one denomination or country. Nor do we provide just one or two services, though we may rely on those organisations. We work with the whole system and with the many parts within it.

We often play the role of coordinating other service providers to ensure a Bible college or a group of Bible colleges get what they need. We mentor leaders, train faculty, recommend improvements, fund projects and people needs. All that is done from the side. We don’t own the colleges or go on their boards. We are friends on the journey together.

We also work with whole regions of Bible colleges and encourage cooperative ventures between them. Our strategies are always deeply sensitive to each locality and so there is never a ‘one size fits all’ approach even when we work with global strategies.