Why PhDs are what Majority World Christian leaders need

How God multiplies the impact of His faithful workers

If someone asked you ‘What will create the most transformation in the Majority World church?’, would your first response be ‘Enable more people to get their PhD’? 

In the Majority World, the gospel is spreading far and wide, but the challenge has long been enabling Christians to grow in maturity. Langham founder John Stott understood Christians must first be transformed by God’s Word if they are going to be faithful disciples. And for Christians to mature in their faith, they need leaders who believe, teach and live by God’s Word. 

Yet, as John Stott travelled the world, he saw a lack of formal training among most pastors. By equipping one Christian leader with a PhD, they gain the ability to train more Christians to be effective pastors! They also create contextual books and resources, start impactful NGOs and more. 

This is why Langham Partnership helps emerging Christian leaders in the Majority World earn PhDs in Bible and theology, equipping them to teach God’s Word to a new generation of church leaders in their home countries. A strong theological education is crucial for Christian leaders around the world to create a lasting impact in their communities and ultimately, their nations.

Two generations of Scholars in South Asia, teacher and student

Langham Scholars Director Riad Kassis says, “Most of our graduates who get a PhD are committed to going to their own country or region for 10 years. When they go back, they don’t just become professors at a seminary or university full-time, spending time teaching and maybe doing research in their offices. They do this, but this is only part of what they are doing. These men and women are community leaders, supporting and starting NGOs in their own context, they will be preachers, teachers and mentors of young men and women.”

Riad says, “By being engaged in the life of the community, expressing their faith and the love of Christ and what they have experienced during their life, they influence their students. They’re church members, teachers and NGO staff and this is how they transform society.”

Scholar preaching to congregation

One example of this is Scholar Martin from Lebanon. He did his PhD with the support of Langham Partnership at Oxford University in England, with a focus on interfaith dialogue. Martin’s ministry is a global one, although he is based in Lebanon. 

He works to bring the Christian faith intelligently and gently to our Muslim friends based on mutual understanding and dialogue. He has produced globally recognised and appreciated writings that are proving impactful for many others in faith-bridging ministries like him around the world! This is a great example of how a Langham Scholar’s PhD is being multiplied by God to impact many. 

Riad says, “Our scholars, equipped with a passion for ministry and with highly qualified academic credentials, are a strong foundation for the church. Sometimes, you know, we think, why do we really need PhDs? We could spend this money on something else. Why do we need all this time and energy? But investing in one [leader] brings ‘huge revenue’. Because this one, when she or he is well qualified, the impact they have on their churches, communities, societies, and nations, is unbelievable.” 

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