The mission of ECTE is to assist evangelical theological education in Europe to become and to be ‘fit for purpose’ so that it equips the church for God’s mission.
The following objectives are expressed in the ECTE’s Mission statement.
- Excellence and fitness for purpose. The ECTE’s entire network of people and services should strive for excellence, aiming at fitness for purpose in all that God has put into our care.
- Evangelical. The ECTE is privileged to serve the entire Evangelical Church community and to inspire by its example its institutions to work in harmony with all evangelicals for God’s greater glory. The ECTE, in the spirit of the European Evangelical Alliance, respects denominational particularities and traditions, but considers them as secondary to the fundamentals of the Christian faith. The ECTE seek to maintain a balance between clear beliefs held under the Lordship of Christ and an attitude of “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:16) towards all those outside of the evangelical tradition.
- Contextual and Relevant. The ECTE network, located in Europe with its own particular history and context, should serve its constituency in light of the uniqueness and needs of today’s European peoples and cultures, while meeting the highest European educational standards. Located in Europe, in a climate of religious and social diversity and freedoms and serious challenges to the Christian faith, the ECTE also exists to meet the diverse leadership needs of the European churches and ministries by empowering and encouraging evangelical theological training institutions in our network.
- Missional. The ECTE does not conceive evangelical theological education as an end in itself, but rather as a means for contributing to the kingdom of God in Europe and beyond through the qualitative and quantitative growth of the Church in Europe. The ECTE believes that theological education must not only produce knowledge and understanding in the minds of students, but also a deep spiritual, life-changing impact that will prepare graduates for effective service and healthy Christian living. The ECTE also believes that that European churches and ministries will benefit as evangelical institutions of higher and vocational theological education collaborate and network more closely.
- Flexible and Developing. The ECTE is committed to assisting its member institutions in adapting to the innovations within higher and vocational education in Europe and to the changing needs of the evangelical community and the world they are called to serve. The ECTE is also committed to assisting its member institutions in creating a flexible and developing network that will respond to needs and opportunities as they arise.
- Accountable. The ECTE does not accredit on behalf of itself, but on behalf of the evangelical churches of Europe, seeking to encourage the training of workers and leaders in response to the needs and ideas of the evangelical community in Europe, while recognising the dynamic input and contributions of evangelical theological institutions to those churches. The ECTE also seeks to remain accountable to the standards and guidelines for quality in higher and vocational education in Europe.
The ECTE is to be a vibrant community of theological institutions that, rooted in Scripture, in commitment to God, to His church and to His mission to the world, impacts evangelical theological education in Europe through a vision for quality assurance, training and resourcing. Because of this impact, leaders of theological institutions will consider the ECTE network to be of vital significance for them.
The ECTE will develop as an organisation which fulfils its mission by strategically focusing on quality assurance and development, resourcing and networking to build capacity in European evangelical theological education. Whereas interdisciplinary work is encouraged, the primary scope of institutions and programmes seeking the services of the ECTE is in the discipline of evangelical theology.
Three main areas of work shape the strategic focus and the day-to-day operations of the agency (see Section 2 below for greater detail):
- Membership for networking. The ECTE seeks to be a major voice of evangelical theological education in Europe connecting evangelical colleges and seminaries with each other and with theological institutions that have state accreditation or university validation to effectively serve one another by connecting their strategic resources in a common educational enterprise. The ECTE network will also seek to reinforce connections with the wider international world of theological education, with the broader church community, with non-tertiary providers of theological training and with the European academic higher education and vocational education context.
- Development through research and training. The ECTE seeks to further serve theological education in Europe and beyond through publication, the creation and maintenance of key resources, organisation of events and the training of those involved in the delivery of theological education. The ECTE seeks to understand the present and future movements in evangelical theological education, in order to maintain relevance in delivering its services and to take part in developing a contemporary vision for theological education in Europe and beyond. This will be done through international collaboration where appropriate.
- Quality assurance. The ECTE seeks to nurture and certify a culture of quality assurance in theological education through institutional and programme accreditation. ECTE accreditation seeks both comparability to European and international standards and guidelines and coherence with the values of evangelical theology. In addition to tertiary level accreditation, the ECTE offers evaluation services to institutions already benefitting from other accreditation and to non-tertiary programmes of theological education. The ECTE’s quality assurance services are subject-specific and cross-border in nature. Institutions that undergo quality assurance processes with the ECTE provide a witness to churches, missions and to the broader community of the academic, vocational and formational values they wish to communicate to their graduates.
For a general introduction to the ECTE’s identity, activities and organisations see Introducing the ECTE.