New Doors of Opportunity
19 July 2021
Located in Davao City (“the city of David”), the third largest city in the Philippines with a population of almost two million, Koinonia Theological Seminary Foundation, Inc. (KTSFI) is committed to training students to provide leadership for the church of Jesus Christ. The vision of KTSFI is “to glorify God by equipping Christians to become reflective practitioners, scholars, and leaders, through quality theological education, for the advancement of God’s kingdom in Mindanao and beyond.” They offer a Master of Arts degree in Theology with a major in Missiology and Counseling and a Master of Divinity degree. They are a member school of the Asia Theological Association as well as an education partner with Horizon Education Network.
KTSFI had been exploring the possibility of introducing online learning to their curriculum for several years. While in the formative stage, some faculty embraced that vision while others were reluctant to pursue that option. When the pandemic hit, they encountered the same dilemma that confronted educational institutions around the world. How would they be able to accomplish their vision if they could not gather students together in the classroom to provide the needed instruction? If KTSFI had to close their doors, how would they be able to train students? How would they be able to meet their financial responsibilities to their staff? Conducting classes on their campus was not possible because of the restrictions caused by COVID-19. It was then that the leaders at KTSFI recognized that online learning was the only viable option. Dr. Wilson McMahon, the Academic Dean of the school and one of the advocates of online learning, commented, “I no longer needed to work hard at getting everyone on board.”
Over the past year, God took a situation that appeared to be a lethal blow to KTSFI, and other schools like it, and turned it into a story of growth and success for his glory. As they have engaged in online learning, their student body has seen unprecedented growth over the last three semesters. KTSFI had primarily been a school whose student body came from Davao City and its environs. But after beginning to offer online learning, they added students from outside of this region. McMahon said, “Almost 25% of our current cohort of students are from outside of Davao City where we are based. They are from regions of Mindanao that require a four to six-hour bus journey.” None of these students would have enrolled without the option of online learning.
Not only did the move to online learning result in the growth of their student body the last three semesters, it prompted growth in other areas as well. They were also able to purchase new equipment and provide the faculty with an increase in salaries. God provided for the needs of KTSFI during the pandemic and their ministry has become stronger because of their confidence in the Lord and their openness to finding new solutions to the problems they faced.
As he reflected on the work of God over the past year, Dr. McMahon commented, “We rejoice that, though the pandemic has brought many changes to our life as a seminary, we can give thanks for the new doors of opportunity it has allowed us to walk through.”
At Horizon, we rejoice in the work of God as he continues to build his kingdom by providing new strategies to train leaders.