International Ministries (IM) has endorsed Rev. Dr. Rodney Ragwan, who currently serves as IM’s Director for Mission Mobilization, to prepare for ministry as a Global Consultant for Theological Education. In this role, Rodney will work with IM staff, global servants, and international partners to promote contextually relevant theological education around the world. IM’s global consultants are global servants who are assigned not to a particular country or location, but to a field of ministry in which they have exceptional expertise. They are available to travel throughout the world to resource, consult, and serve IM partners in their ministries.
Rodney will bring to this new role a breadth of experience in cross-cultural ministry and theological education. Originally from South Africa, Rodney committed his life to Christ and discerned a call to active service in the church as a high school student. He earned degrees in pastoral studies, missiology, and social transformation in South African institutions; a Master of Theological Studies degree and Doctor of Ministry degree from Palmer Theological Seminary in the United States; and a Ph.D. from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Rodney has served churches as a pastor and taught in theological institutions in both South Africa and the United States, and has authored three books and several journal articles.
Growing up and preparing for Christian ministry under apartheid in South Africa moved Rodney to deep critical study of the application of gospel principles to all of life, leading him to a conviction that “personal devotion, learning from others who are different from me, and practicing the values of the Kingdom of God are my commitments as I seek to make a difference in God’s world.” As a Christian leader in South Africa, Rodney was one of the facilitators of a post-apartheid reconciliation process which brought together Baptists from five racially divided organizations to engage with one another on the issue of racial reconciliation. While serving as President of the Baptist Association of South Africa (BASA), Rodney led that organization into formal partnership with International Ministries and membership in the All-Africa Baptist Fellowship and Baptist World Alliance.
Since June 2018, Rodney has served as International Ministries’ Director of Mission Mobilization. In this role, he has counseled prospective global servants in discerning God’s call and accompanied them through IM’s rigorous application and assessment process. Following this, he also coached them through the pre-assignment stage of network-building, fundraising, and pre-assignment orientation and training. His pastoral guidance has been appreciated by the many new global servants who have joined IM under his watch.
Rodney finds his greatest satisfaction in ministry as a theological educator, and especially in helping students approach theology with sensitivity to cross-cultural issues and dynamics. As an adjunct faculty member for Palmer Theological Seminary, he has taught and mentored students from around the world, and he also serves as a member of the Commission on Theological Education of the Baptist World Alliance. These both give him a rich network of global relationships upon which he’ll build his future ministry as a global consultant.
Dr. Stan Slade, who continues his ministry also as an IM Global Consultant for Theological Education, looks forward to Rodney joining him in this important area of ministry. “I am excited to see someone with Rodney’s breadth and depth of experience join IM’s team of global consultants. Rodney brings years of experience in theological education, both as a teacher and as one engaged in the design and delivery of innovative educational programs. Beyond that, Rodney brings to the training of church leaders his entire lifetime of navigating tricky cross-cultural waters. Rodney will be a great resource for our partners around the world!”
Likewise, Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chan, the area director who supervises global consultants and global coordinators, notes how Rodney’s endorsement aligns with IM’s aim to support the development of high-quality theological education around the globe. “IM has a vision to develop a team of global consultants for theological education who are gender and ethnically inclusive, who can contribute to multicultural understanding and reflection, and who can advance contextually relevant theologies and theological training. Rodney’s appointment marks a significant step towards the goal.”
Rodney is married to Dr. Eva Anita Ragwan. Together they have three adult children and four grandchildren.
In the months ahead, Rodney will be building a mission partnership network (MPN) and raising commitments of financial support for his new ministry, even as IM begins work toward naming a successor to his ministry in Mission Mobilization. IM’s CEO/Executive Director Rev. Sharon Koh expresses the sentiment of Rodney’s IM colleagues as she says, “I’m so glad for the way Rodney has held faithfully to his calling in the field of theological education, and it has been a joy to journey with him in this courageous transition.”
International Ministries, also known as the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, works cross-culturally to invite people to become disciples of Jesus Christ and to proclaim, through both word and deed, God’s reign of justice, peace and abundant life for all creation.