Fohle Lygunda Li-M - "Transforming Missiology"
3:04AM Jul 1, 2020
Jonathan J. Armstrong
Today it's our delight to be speaking with Dr. Fohle
Dr. Lygunda earned a PhD in physiology from Northwestern University in South Africa and doctor of ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary. He's the founder and executive director of the Africa center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo where we've reached him today. And he's also the author of the texts that we'll be discussing Transforming Missyology: An Alternative Approach to Missiological Education. Dr. Lygunda, thank you so much for sharing your time with us today.
Thank you, would you let them
we understand that transforming Missy ology an alternative approach to miss theological education was first developed as your daughter Dissertation. How did you come to settle on the topic of Missy, illogical education as you developed your doctoral research, please?
Yeah, thank you for the question.
I've been in the ministry since 1989, pastoring churches, evangelical churches in the Congo. And I come up with observation about what churches are doing. I've been teaching at a Bible school seminaries and the administration of the church. So the observation was that men of our churches in Africa in general, but in the Congo, in particular, which judge were founded by Western mission societies, They are not so mission minded churches. And that that was a problem because, like in my denomination, we used to work with American missionaries and the during the wars, they will leave Congo to go back to United State and when we stay, we are just competing about material things. We will live in this house lifted by missionaries, we will use this car left by missionaries. They promoted the title and the power that that was too much cycles. And I came up with this question saying a so what is actually the main mandate of the church, if not going, perpetuating what God Jesus did theological education we need in the Congo to prepare people for mission to take over the responsibility that Western missionaries left to us.
Dr. Alexander did the G pro Congress in Bangkok of 2016 in any way shape your research or your thinking on this topic,
my observation of Jeju leaders not being so mission minded leaders. I think that was also the concern in that meeting you are mentioning when I got to this report from my supervisor flip buyers, I just said wow, praise the Lord because my concern is also shared by a global level.
Dr. Lagonda one of the challenges facing theological colleges in the United States is the question of funding. That's a question that seems to come up perennially, these days. And the traditional model of theological education simply requires enormous levels of financial support in order to make these schools operate. So the financial pressure on the United States Bible colleges and seminaries is driving change and innovation. Talk to me if you would about schools in the context of the Democratic Republic of Congo, how are finances working there? And what are the primary drivers of change in the context of the Democratic Republic of Congo?
You're not you're not on this challenge is a universal. Even in Congo. We are facing this issue for funding theological education. That is why in most institutions in the Congo, even in other countries in Africa, we always look for support because churches are not at the level of taking in charge for the training. And most of our churches members. They don't really support their theological education. And that is why funding theological education becomes a big challenge. But to address this challenge in my book, I propose that we should have this blind model of training, whereby you will have people in their workplace and coming on campus to spend like a few times the like a few weeks where they can meet with teachers and they can share their experience and they go back student would go back to their job, so that they may not live full time on campus, which is so expensive. And also the distance learning like in South Africa, you have University of South Africa, even in my own University Northwest University purchase room. They have this kind of a part time training and the research based program. So those are ways that we are exploring nowadays to address the issue of founding steel. It comes also with all the challenges because, you know, traveling the student,
student and the payment of four professors and you need good libraries like my center, we don't have a good library. Those are challenges that we need to address for the theological education. Still, we can change Training Systems training venues training model, but we still need the money for the library for the travel costs and so on.
Dr. Lagonda, you have a significant experience in several African countries as well as of course, the United States Say it's the African countries would include Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa and Burundi and perhaps others that I don't know about. Would you speak briefly to the ways that the financial models and the technological models might might have a different might possibly be different in some of these different African contexts? Yeah.
When you are in South Africa, I think the internet connection is much more better than when you are in Burundi where I have been for six years. And I can't tell about the Congo, even for this program. You see how we struggled before we come up with what we are doing. I don't, I'm not even sure if it will end up with a good internet connection. So in South Africa, you have the better, good, much more better then in Burundi, in the Congo, and so And the internet connection is still a problem. It is a problem. I hope, I hope we'll have a way to overcome this challenge.
Dr. Laguna, would you be willing to brainstorm with me just on that point, the point of technological infrastructure and magic in internet availability, particularly in the context of the Democratic Republic of Congo? Is this your first time on a zoom conference call and and have you for church leaders? Is there a use of teleconferencing on the internet?
I'm fortunate to be at Scala. So that is not the first time to use zoom conference, but many of my colleagues, they don't have this opportunity. You know, I have my laptop. I have my mother, but I know many pastors It's really a challenge for other people but for scholar like me I have this chance of traveling, getting this kind of material but it's not common to many people.
That's that's very helpful that you would help me think these these questions through. So I'm talking Dr. Legault? No, we are. We are in moody envisioning at the Center for Global theological education, we are envisioning a global network of learning communities. And we are envisioning that we would be able to partner with schools around the world through a hybrid model of both live teaching events, and also internet calls like we're doing now. Can Would you be willing to counsel me just briefly, in the context of Democratic Republic of Congo, how difficult would it be and what what would be required to set up internet learning communities within churches
that they telecommute keshawn agencies they are here. They provide provided they provide like modems. And you can have a screen and also a good laptop. So like in my center a few months ago, I was in South Africa, and my students were here in Kinshasa. So when I was speaking from South Africa, they were so amazed to see me through the connection. And instead of bringing all students to South Africa, you see, one student would pay like a $1,000 to go to South Africa. But that time they were here, what here and the listening to me from South Africa. I think there is a way if we can have this kind of the kind of materials of big room like what we have here but having a screen and that is disposals feedings. It couldn't be a good things to tack down some costs that we can, we cannot afford.
And and this experience of yourself teaching from South Africa two years students in Kinshasa, what When was that? How many weeks or months ago was that?
it was in May. And can you describe to me What was it like for you as a teacher to teach through that medium?
Yeah, it was good, because you know that that was an international conference, organized by Northwestern University, and that was one of our speakers. And when I was there, and I told my students to be connected, so that they may follow how the conference it was on apologetics, because due to this issue, all four counts and I gave a paper on the mythological perspective for approaching set or count. And that that was powerful for our students to learn not only from me, but from other professors who could not come here, or our students could not go there. So it was really a blessing for them. Yeah, it was a blessing even for myself. I was proud because my colleagues were in the room. They said, Oh, we have a student from Dr. Fuller center.
So it was
a really grateful
for me. We're honored today to be speaking with Dr. Follette Lagonda, author of transforming mission an alternative approach to miss theological education.
I think the million dollar question for us today is what does mission look like in this globalized post colonial world of ours how his mission in the 21st century and looking onto the end of the 21st century changed from the 20th and previous centuries.
Yeah, this is this is actually a critical question that I'm discussing also in that book, using the concept Glocal Glocal. That means the mission should be both for local, and also global. The tendency in many churches in the Congo is that our mission field is here. So in my book, I say no, the mission field is not only here, we start from here, but here is not the final destination of our mission. Because Jesus said, when the Holy Spirit will come upon you, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem in or the Judea in Somalia and to the utmost of the earth. So we Say the mission should not be only here, here and there. And usually I tell my people, you know, when they go to United States, people are waiting for African missionaries as well. In the past, American missionaries went from American to Africa. But nowadays you go to America and you find so many unreached people under You see, I give even one example. In 2003, I visited United State, and I preached in one church with a membership of a team members. When I was in 2006, I preached in the same church with almost eight members. When I went back in 2008, the church building was sold out The church was sold out. There was no more church there. And I tell my people look at here, everywhere you find a church, but in America, they are selling some churches. So we missionaries for nowadays should come from Africa from American from Asia is a global and global game. And we should not be only observers, we should be actors in that game. The other aspect also is the holistic approach of mission. Because some missionaries in the Congo used to say bless, are you poor people? It looks like if you are a poor, you your destiny is the paradise. You cannot be a rich person when you are in Christ and so on. But nowadays, we say no, Jesus Christ. For a holistic ministry, he was caring about the whole human being, body, soul and the spirit. So the mission should be and holistic up. What is take program to reach out to a whole human being? So, in brief to respond to your question for me, as I discuss in my book, the mission should be Glocal, both for local and the global, and also holistic.
Doctor legal. Thank you so much for that reflection. How does Miss theological education need to change in order to prepare students effectively for missionary service in the coming century?
I think my my proposition is that, that theological education should be in the service of God's mission. So in that sense, theological education should penetrate the whole curriculum of theological education. Instead of having only a department of theology for me, I think, to make theological education in the service of God's mission, we should, ah, that systematic theology is Toriko theology. biblical theology should be embedded in a mission. Like Christopher white, he did a great job writing, publishing his book, The mission of God, the, the whole thing's in its theological institution should be should have the purpose of serving church and its mission. So you cannot just say, unless you go to the departmental facilities, You cannot learn about mission. As I demonstrate in this book I say even the practical Miss practical theology should be a channel through which mission of God should be taught to students. systematic theology can be in the service of mission, New Testament or the discernment. Oh, these things. So for me, me theological education should not be just like an island. It should be part of the whole.
Dr. llegando we're delighted to be speaking with you today on your text transforming Misil Missy ology an alternative approach to miss theological education. Dr. Laguna, would you be willing to talk to us about the reasons why you founded the egg, the Africa center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Kinshasa.
Yeah, the Africa center for Interdisciplinary Studies came out of my doctorates, because it was actually as the answer to the problem that I was addressing. In my research. The observation is that many people, he, they don't have this opportunity of furthering their studies for several reasons, including funding money, including the place where they can go and learn those few things. And that is why I say let us come up with a thesis center will that will open open up to all people from all denominations, because when you have some seminaries, they are there for their denominations. Like if you have a Baptist family merit. This is a for Baptists members. If you have a seminary for Presbyterian Church, this is for Presbyterian Church. But in the Congo, we have so many churches, which are not only members of Protestantism, but they are Africa initiative churches and we have a strong leaders in those people, but they are not educated. So I said if we go to set up a center, which can have which, which will help all people from all denominations without discriminations, and this can be a good things also, you have some institutions which are not really providing a well, high quality education. This is a general problem in many countries in Africa. And for me, I said this since I'm connected with
flesh to nowhere Which is
good, which is a good university, the center will recruit two people will lead them through the completion of a research proposal, and we bring out the file for their admission to the northwest University where I studied. So that is one of the reasons why I established this center and know the reasons is about publications. In Francophone Africa. We are known
not really being a people who are publishing a lot, mostly in evangelical sight. evangelical Francophone Africa, they are not publishing a lot. So I said, let us through this center, have a student conduct their research at the end we publish their research like my book, my book is, is a from the physics but you will come to many institutions here. their dissertations are not published.
library they are not. These are some reasons why I established this center here.
Dr. Linda, would you be willing to talk to us about some of the programs that your center, the Africa center for Interdisciplinary Studies offers?
Yeah, we have the first programs. After as you can see interdisciplinary, we receive people form or the Department of of theological studies. That means systematic theology, biblical theology, practical theology, historical theology. So we receive all those to come to our center, but with the purpose to use their research for missions, you'll get those systematic theology but you connected with mission and historical with mission biblical mission and so on. The second thing is, we also organize research seminars. Very soon in August we'll have one research seminars for students who are doing masters and doctorate program from various universities, not only from our universities. So we'll be here because the issue of methodology many students they are not aware of. And one of my friends from Biola, university professor of his rechart style stature will come as one of the facilitators to help the participant in areas of literature review, research, methodology, and prejudice, and so on. We also have a review Africa review for Key disciplinary studies, those who wanted to publish their articles, or part of their dissertations, they will submit that we submit the proposal. And we'll, we'll edit this is a peer review,
journal law to disseminate
what our people are doing. So those are a few things that we are offering at masters and doctoral level.
Doctor legal and if I may close this interview with a question that we've been asking all of the interviewees on this program, and that is this, what would it mean for the church to be united today? How would we recognize this unity and what is it that we can do to pursue the Unity for which Jesus prayed in john 17?
Yeah, this is a good question and the you know, john, Jonathan, the last prayer of Jesus in john chapter 17 women
2322 23 Jesus said, Lord, Father, I pray that these people will be one as you and I, we are one, so that the world may know that you sent me so that the world may believe you see those a two verb to know and to believe. Many people in the world they don't know Jesus Christ, many people in the world that they don't believe in Jesus Christ, and that the unity of people of God's will facilitate people around the world to know Jesus, and it will be live in he. So, in Congo, we have a wonderful example of the Church of Christ in Congo, where you find all Protestant churches in one platform and you live this judge you go to The other church, you, you, you, you have this feeling of belonging. And I think that is very important. And when I look at the issue for theological education, we need this kind of approach also to open up to our people. We cannot just say, I'm in the Baptist seminary, you are in the new farion seminary, you are in the reformed seminary. I think our diversity should be the world's for us to be together and to provide the world to God's people needs for his mission. Yeah. Unity is very important thing. It can be a tool for the world to know Jesus and to believe in Jesus.
It's been are delighted today to be speaking with Dr. Fuller Lagonda, author of transforming Missy ology and alternative approach to physiological education and also founder of the the executive Director of the Africa center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Thank you so much, Dr. Liga for joining us this morning.
Thank you very much.