A Message from the Principal | 院长的话
Rev. Dr. Khoo Ho Peng
Sibu Methodist Theological School (MTS) has some unfavorable conditions that cause people to think twice before enrolling. What are the unfavorable conditions?
- MTS is located at a relatively unknown small town (Sibu), not in the international metropolis. It is difficult to attract those yearning for city life;
- MTS is a seminary with Methodist background, not from an inter-denominational or independent church background. This is more difficult to attract students from other denominations;
- Although we have about 60 years of historical background, we are only having the 14th batch of graduates by this year since the reopening of our Degree Courses. This is difficult to attract those who aim for higher degree (like Master of Theology, or Doctoral study, etc.);
- MTS is not well-known among the churches other than Methodist churches in East Malaysia. So most of our students are from the Methodist churches of East Malaysia.
However, all these unfavorable conditions can also become favorable, such as
- Small town is the best place for study;
- The strong points of Methodist on its Revival history, Practical Divinity, Administrative Organization, etc can be the role model for other churches;
- The degree courses offered are biblical, evangelical, contemporary, and moving forward with plans;
- Recent years, more people get to know MTS, now we have students from China, Taiwan, Australia, West Malaysia and others.
In addition to the turning of “unfavorable” to “favorable” conditions, MTS also has other attractive points:
- Community Life: MTS students and Lecturers stay together in the campus as a community: dining, playing, chit-chatting, praying, evangelizing, worshiping, serving and others.
- Spiritual Formation: Experience the Holy Spirit during the daily (Tuesday-Friday) morning chapel service, from 5:15am until 6:15am; Look up for God’s mercy during the weekly fasting prayer, and save the money for Work of Mercy; To share and to be accountable to each other through weekly family group gathering.
- Lecturers’ qualification: Besides having academic credentials, our more than ten lecturers’ team also has experiences in pastoral or missions field, and actively involve in church ministries, which provide practical teaching.
- Academic Requirements: MTS’s programs are not only recognized by the Association of Theological Education in Southeast Asia (ATESEA), but are also integrated with other higher requirements, such as Bible, Orthodox Theology, Wesleyan Theology etc.
- Evangelism & Missions: MTS has organized Missions Awareness Week yearly for more than ten years. We invite experienced missionaries for talks, and we also send family groups to many places around Sarawak to work with local parishes. Every week, our lecturers and students go out for evangelism. During year end, we send our students for overseas missions exposure. We have started Missiology program four years ago, with the purpose of training future missionaries.
- Practical Divinity: Every Theological student is appointed to churches during weekend for fieldwork practical. They are assigned to participate in para-church organizations during their third year of study in MTS. Daily normal Christian life is counted as part of the training.
- Worship & Music: MTS has started Worship & Music program about ten years ago, to train church musicians, which has upgraded the standard of worship & music in MTS and churches.
- Support from Churches: MTS is supported by three Annual Conferences of Sarawak and Sabah, to offer the lowest school fees, the best facilities, and the best team (all churches, board members, faculty, staff and students, etc).
- International students: MTS has the permit from Sarawak Internal Affair Department on recruiting international students.
- Church Environment: MTS is located at a blessed place, a place where Methodist members from China migrated more than a hundred years ago. They started to build churches and schools here. Today, there are more than 5 Methodist churches in Sibu, with more than a thousand worshippers, besides other large or small churches around Sibu area, which can be known as the Jerusalem of Malaysia. Students who are trained here will be able to see how God has blessed the churches in this place.
Praise the Lord that in recent years, church leaders from many places have come to know the advantages of MTS as mentioned above. They encourage their church members to study in MTS. We hope, by God’s grace and guidance, MTS is able to bless more churches and societies.
Rev Dr Tie, King Tai