As a professor at the largest evangelical school in Indonesia, Rev. Dr. Daniel Ronda finds himself feeling grateful every day for his Doctor of Ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary.
The D.Min. degree had “a great impact on my life because of the teachings; so practical, so helpful, relevant for how to be an effective leader,” Ronda says. “The training and education I have made me confident. I’m so grateful for that because I have a calling to train pastors and leaders.”
Ronda was President at Makassar Jaffray Theological College in South Sulawesi from 2007 to 2016. He is now President of the Christian and Missionary Alliance church in Indonesia, one of the country’s largest evangelical denominations.
In the classroom, Ronda trains Christian leaders in a country experiencing phenomenal growth in evangelical Christianity. “This is the Holy Spirit. This is the young people,” Ronda says to explain this growth. According to him, Christianity is growing among the young Generation Z who are converting from Islam because they don’t want to be identified with a radical religion.
Other than Hindus among the Bali Island, Indonesia is predominantly Muslim. The Indonesian government grants freedom of religion. Yet, Isis as well as Muslims coming to Indonesia from the Middle East have led to growing radicalism and the persecution of Christians, Ronda explains. In some Indonesian rural communities, Muslims bully Christians, close worship services, and even burn house churches.
Christianity attracts converts for yet another reason. At a 24,000-member church in Jakarta, Indonesia, pastored by Ronda’s friend, hundreds of people regularly come to Christ because they see the love in church communities. They see Christians love people amid difficulties and calamities. “This attracts young people: love. Showing our love. They want to see the love of Christ,” Ronda says. He predicts Indonesia will continue to experience more growth in the coming years through reaching more youth and through diaspora ministry.
Ronda teaches his students about contextual leadership and holistic ministries, which involves learning how to be part of the communities they lead. In Indonesia, there is a wide gap between the rich and the poor, he explains. Holistic ministry means bringing them together.
Yet another contextual challenge in Indonesia is the digital world—a common challenge faced by the global church.
“Churches have to be part of digital communities to reach young people in Indonesia,” Ronda says. “Some pastors don’t feel the need for any more digital, but young people are in digital communities, so we need to reach them. Otherwise, our churches will not be relevant anymore. We have to convince pastors to be online.”
Ronda practices what he teaches. You can find him on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, where he speaks to his digital followers about Christian leadership, pastoral issues, church growth, preaching, and the exposition of God’s Word.
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