History of OTS
Conception, Implantation and Expansion
Open Theological Seminary in Pakistan is a seed sown, nurtured and made fruitful by the efforts of many God loving people who envisioned seeing Christ’s body grow in the understanding of Scripture and relationship with God. Here’s a glimpse of its journey from 1970s to the present day.
1970s:The idea of Theological Education by Extension (TEE) originated in the Guatemala Presbyterian Seminary (Latin America) in the 1960s.It potential to equip the local church made it a fast growing movement, spreading through many countries in Africa and Asia. During August 1971, Dr. Ralph Winter, a TEE pioneer from Latin America, came to lead a TEE workshop at the Gujranwala Theological Seminary. Rev. Eric Wright an d Rev. Russ bgean TEE classes in RahimYar Khan and Northern Hazara. Classes commenced in Lahore and Gujranwala. The Committee was renamed PACTEE (Pakistan Committee for Theological Education by Extension). By 1976 there were 12 courses in English and 7 in Urdu.
1980s: The efforts of PACTEE bore fruit, with the appointment of Mr. Zafar Ismail in 1982, the work of OTS became more contextualized as translated literature became accessible to OTS Students. The achievement of the excelling movement was seen in 1984 when 6 students from Lahore and 11 from Rahim Yar Khan were the first to achieve their Certificate of Theology under PACTEE. From these students, 7 became tutors themselves, and expanded the work. In this way the concept of TEE flourished. In 1987 the first 9 students received their Diploma of Theology and the first B.Th. degrees were awarded in 1995. In 1989 PACTEE changed its name to the Open Theological Seminary, reflecting the increasing status of TEE.
1990s:1996 marked an important year in the history of OTS, as it got its own office building. The 1990s did not just see a transition from cramped quarters to well-equipped building, but also a more evolved curriculum designed by the Academic Commission. The accreditation in 1997 and 2002 by the Asia Theological Association (ATA) was a major step in allowing a recognition of the quality of OTS courses, as assessed by external evaluators.
2000- Present Day: The re-accreditation in 2008 and 2014 of these awards reflects the ongoing high standards and hard work OTS puts into all areas of its programme. In 2008 the first ATA accredited BTh degrees were awarded to four students (three men, one woman). The recent years marked changes in the administrative structure for growth and betterment. Youth and Rural Ministry were added to OTS ministry in 2014, with the aim of reaching out to non-literate students. After Rev. Tim Green, the leadership of this ministry was entrusted to Rev. Qaiser Julius in 2003. In 2015, he received his doctorate from Melbourne School of Theology, Australia . Like the previous years where we saw God at work the present years also promise a reassurance that God is at work and we see it manifest in the growing staff, expanding ministry work, better designed courses and countless testimonies that Glorify His Name.
Section Description of OTS levels
Various awards are offered for both adults and teenagers. Courses are carefully graded according to levels:
- DISCIPLESHIP LEVELDiscipleship level courses provide a balanced basis for the Christian life, giving students confidence in their faith and introducing them to the Bible.
- CERTIFICATE LEVELCertificate level courses engage the students in systematic Bible study and help them to influence their neighbours and families for Christ.
- DIPLOMA LEVELAt Diploma level we concentrate on training lay leaders to play an active part in their churches as lay preachers, evangelists, Sunday School teachers etc.
- BACHELOR LEVELBachelor level courses provide more in-depth training for pastors and full-time Christian workers.
- MA in Christian Studies (MACS)To improve theological qualifications of in-service pastors and to equip lay people for ministerial work in their local church OTS started this 3 years modular program.
"Equipping Pakistani Christians to become light and salt for others"
To equip God’s people for work in His service through contextually relevant Biblical study materials and tutor-led local classes throughout Pakistan.
Objective Of OTS
Our overall objective is to equip God’s people to reach their full potential in Christ and to use their gifts to serve in the local church and in Pakistani society. In order to fulfill this overall objective, we aim to hold workshops and provide training materials whereby pastors and lay persons may learn TEE methods for teaching more effectively, and to encourage men and women not only to study God’s Word but also to apply it to their everyday situation.
Board of Trustees
OTS is governed by a national Board, whose members are chosen on the basis of their individual contribution, reflecting a range of denominations. The role of the Board is to set direction and policy. It also awards degrees to students who successfully fulfil the requirements. The Board meets annually, towards the beginning of each calendar year.
There are two chief committees that oversee the work of OTS, namely: the Finance Committee & Academic Commission. While the office side has the Finance Committee to monitors it’s functioning, the latter is in charge of the academic. Alongside these, the internal Academic Steering Committee meets on a needs basis and reports to the Academic Commission.
Facts & Figures
- Female Students54%
‘To equip God’s people for work in His service.’ (Ephesians 4:12)
The vision of OTS is that the Church in Pakistan and beyond should experience renewal with all its members using their gifts for outreach among unbelievers, the building up of the local church, and the transformation of society.