Serving Europe (and beyond) through theological education
Posted on: 23rd June 2022
CMS missionaries David and Cathie Sandifer serve at Tyndale Theological Seminary in the Netherlands. They share some of the challenges and encouragements of ministering at Tyndale.
About Tyndale Theological Seminary
Tyndale was started in 1985 with a vision to raise up Christian leaders in Europe solidly grounded in the Scriptures. At the time, the mission which established the college, was operating a dozen Bible institutes across Europe, and it was envisaged that these would act as ‘feeder’ schools for Tyndale. Initially, the curriculum was centred around intensive courses for which students travelled to the seminary several times a year, along with the faculty.
Over the years the seminary has grown significantly, both in size and impact. In the early 2000s, a dormitory was built, allowing more residential students. A few years later, Tyndale sought and was granted accreditation with both the European Council for Theological Education (ECTE), and with the Dutch national accreditation board (NVAO).
Blessings and challenges for Tyndale
From its inception, Tyndale has attracted students from all over the world, providing a unique richness to the educational environment. Currently both the range of faculty specialties and the size of the student body are at an all-time high.
However, in recent years the number of (non-Dutch) European students has been declining. There are many reasons for this, including dramatic changes in theological education across Europe (and the closing of many Bible institutes). It is a source of concern, and I am involved in a taskforce aiming at making Tyndale better known in Europe and recruiting more European students.
Last month this taskforce represented Tyndale at the European Leadership Forum (ELF) in Krakow, Poland. The ELF gathering brought together over 500 key leaders from all over Europe for training and mutual encouragement. We made some good contacts with several other theological institutions, with the potential of leading to ongoing connections. We also raised the profile of Tyndale amongst these European leaders: most had never heard of Tyndale, and many were interested to know more about what we were doing. Finally, we had an opportunity to brainstorm with the leaders of ELF about ways to collaborate with them in the future. It was a great opportunity, and something that, God willing, Tyndale will continue to participate in in years to come.
Pray for David and Cathie, that they will continue to teach God’s word faithfully and pray for God to raise up more students from Europe to be trained for ministry. You can sign up for regular prayer updates from the Sandifers or other missionaries here.