AGTS introduces new Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies
Dr. Warren Newberry, AGTS President Byron D. Klaus
and Dr. DeLonn Rance.
By Jennifer S. Hall
In an effort to respond to contemporary missions realities, the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS) in Springfield, Missouri, has introduced the first Assemblies of God Ph.D. program in the nation. Dr. DeLonn Rance, long-time missionary to Latin America, developed the new Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies and now leads the program. The first Ph.D. class met in July 2009.
Rance looks to the late missionary statesman J. Philip Hogan to describe the strategy behind this new program—which Rance calls a “strategy of the Spirit.”
“In these days,” Hogan stated, “We must be strategic in all we do. God is moving and pouring out His Spirit in many parts of the world. We must move in the direction God is working, meeting needs as they arise and as He supplies.”
“The phenomenal growth of the Assemblies of God worldwide can only be attributed to a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of men and women,” said Rance. “The best missions strategy is Spirit-driven, requiring missionaries and those involved in missionary activities to discern Spirit direction and respond in obedience. AGTS affirms that strategic planning and spirituality can work in harmony when directed by the Holy Spirit.”
Rance believes that participation in a community of research and learning can further enhance the development of spiritual discernment in missionaries and missions leaders.
Leaders have designed the program to benefit missionaries, missions scholars and those who teach missiology and intercultural studies. The modular delivery format (five visits to Springfield for two to three weeks over three years) allows missionaries and others to stay on the field or in their current full-time jobs.
Two track options are available for the program: Missiological Studies or Christian Relief and Development.
President Byron D. Klaus adds, “This program will contribute to the discipline of intercultural studies by enriching research, teaching and the practice of missionaries in an increasingly complex multicultural world.” Klaus believes the program will give credible voice to missionary scholars and national leaders in the academic world and in the church.