TEEM (Theological Education by Extension in Malawi) is a Christian Training College that provides de-centralised biblical and theological education for both clergy and laity. TEEM was founded initially as a lay/ministry training institution but since then has expanded and also includes courses in academic theology.
We have four offices throughout the country: two in the Southern Region (Zomba and Blantyre), one in the Central Region (Lilongwe) and one in the Northern Region (Mzuzu). Through this we are strategically positioned to provide quality distance education as well as to provide localised follow-up and visitation (as part of our TEE ministry).
We were founded in 1978 as a response of the mainline churches in Malawi (Church of Central Africa Presbyterian and the Anglican Church) to the growing need to extend quality theological training/education, especially, to the grassroots. Here in Malawi a pastor is very rarely responsible for only one congregation (for example, during our recent TEE promotion in the Central Region, the average was one minister for 17 congregations/prayer houses/outstations). These numbers naturally fluctuate depending on a set of local circumstances. Yet even if a pastor is responsible for only 4 congregations this means that s/he will only spend on average one Sunday per month with each congregation. The Malawian church traditionally relies heavily on the services of elders, deacons and lay leaders, who are often seen as church leaders in their own right. This is not an unusual or unhealthy arrangement rather it is a reflection of the “priesthood of all believers” which is quite central to the Protestant tradition.
We were founded as a national, interdenominational, ecumenical TEE program for Malawi as a response to the challenges of providing quality biblical, theological and spiritual training for lay leaders and pastors through distance education (TEE). TEE is a theological educational concept that decentralises access to theological education (the concept was developed as a response to changes in theological training in the church in Guatemala in the 1970s). TEE simply stands for Theological Education by Extension. TEE addresses the need for students (elders and other leaders of the church) to be trained locally where they live, work and minister. The need to equip these Christians is undisputed, yet to train them away from home is not always a realistic option. We believe that it is actually beneficial for students and the church to train students in their natural home environment. This is where TEE has proven itself to be an ideal tool for the church. TEE brings the learning to the student rather than the student to the learning. TEE combines three important elements of theological education in order to effectively, relevantly and systematically train students. This three-fold division of theological education is: head (academic), heart (spiritual) and hands (practical ministry). The glue that joins these three elements to an unbreakable unity is the community of learning (TEE tutorials).
TEE is based on the assumption that everyone in the church is uniquely equipped with spiritual gifts and is called to participate in the ministry of God’s church. We as TEEM have a keen interest in assisting the churches throughout Malawi to train their members so that they can fulfil the call that God has placed on every member of his church.
Our founder and member churches are: the four Anglican Dioceses of Malawi (namely Southern Malawi, Upper Shire, Lake Malawi and Northern Malawi), the three Synods of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), (namely Blantyre, Nkhoma and Livingstonia) and the Churches of Christ in Malawi.
Though we trace our origin back to these founding churches we are ecumenical and interdenominational in nature and outlook. We are keenly interested to talk to other individuals or churches who would like to utilise in the training that we are offering in their churches. Our objective is to provide adequate and thorough biblical and theological training for the grass root leaders in the church. The overall aim is to assist the church to equip, train and prepare all of God’s people for all the ministry of God’s church (Ephesians 4:12).