Best Christian Universities in Europe
Dear Friends and Readers,
One of the basic premises of this blog is that visions and dreams are essential to life. Wisdom teaches that where there is no vision the people perish. One of the signs of God’s presence in the world is when the old men dream dreams and the young men see visions. Let me therefore share with you a vision and dream that has seized my attention and captured my imagination recently…
Ever since I began work at a Christian university in Ukraine, I have been dreaming about the creation of a major centre of Christian education in Eastern Europe. This dream, at its heart, is a vision of unity. This centre of learning would unite all the various divided, crisis-ridden, struggling and ineffectual Bible schools and academies that currently exist in this region.
How did this dream arise? In May last year, as a representative of Donetsk Christian University (see left photo), I paid an official visit to LCC International University in Klaipeda, Lithuania. I returned to Donetsk with a very positive impression of the commitment, missionary passion and erudition of the LCC staff and of the intellectual acumen and cultural diversity of the students.
Moreover, after considerable sacrifice and several years of intricate negotiations with various governmental and academic interest groups, LCC now has considerable international prestige and is even able to offer a fully-accredited MBA programme together with its accredited degrees at bachelor and masters level in subjects ranging from Theology to Psychology and Social Science.
During my visit, I was fortunate to be able to witness the major highlight of the LCC academic year: the Graduation Ceremony. At this impressive spectacle, graduates from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Moldova lined up alongside classmates from Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, Albania, Macedonia and several other European and Middle Eastern countries.
At this ceremony, I caught a glimpse of the future of theological education in Eastern Europe: students from several nations working in harmony together, growing in wisdom and understanding of their Christian worldviews and then graduating and going out into the world equipped with the kind of knowledge that has the power to change lives and transform societies.
LCC thus offers a model for the future of Christian education in the former Soviet Union. This region urgently needs not only ‘professional Christians’ (i.e. pastors, missionaries, evangelists, etc.) but also ‘Christian professionals’ (i.e. Christian doctors, nurses, lawyers, entrepreneurs, architects, journalists, broadcasters, etc.), who are able to bring their Christian worldviews into these various spheres.
LCC seems to recognise that the main aim of theological education should not simply be to train future pastors in the skills of practical church ministry, but to liberate people to become effective change agents of society and to bring their Christian faith to bear in every sphere of their professional lives.
In our increasingly interconnected and globalised world, strategic partnerships, built on relationships of trust and respect, will play an ever more crucial role in university-level education. One of the major tasks of Christian academic leadership today is therefore to identify points of convergence where visions and values meet and to initiate and nurture the kind of transformative relationships that will help us to surmount the challenges that we face.