Faircloth, a 1999 PBA alumnus, worked cross-culturally in Southeast Asia for 15 years. He and his family returned to the U.S. in fall 2019. While intercultural studies historically has been connected to the training of missionaries, the University’s new graduate program is designed to be much more than that, Faircloth said.
“The world as a whole is becoming more culturally pluralistic,” Faircloth said. “It’s a reimagining of intercultural studies and who it’s geared toward.”
Pastors, ministry leaders and others find themselves working across cultures without ever leaving their region. In addition, the fields of sociology and anthropology have come unmoored from theology, Faircloth said.
“We want to keep all those tools but root them in a theological approach so that we remember what it is we’re doing and why it is we’re doing it,” Faircloth said.
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The 36-credit hour online program launches this fall. The program includes two one-week seminars on campus in West Palm Beach or Orlando during the summer. It costs less than comparable master’s programs and can be completed in two years, Faircloth said. Faculty teach classes of six to 10 students and have a wide variety of cultural backgrounds and nationalities, as well as many years of intercultural and missiological experience.
Said Dr. Justin K. Hardin, assistant dean of the School of Ministry: “We are thrilled that this new graduate program will be taught by a diverse team of experts who have hands-on experience and a passion for serving all peoples. I am grateful for Dr. Faircloth’s energetic leadership as we equip the next generation of Kingdom workers in local and global contexts.”
Graduates will be able to work as social science or cultural studies teachers at high schools or universities; cross-cultural communications experts for businesses, parachurch organizations and churches; international missionaries; church staff for intercultural ministries/missions; community development consultants; or policy analysts.
Because the program is online, students will benefit from hearing input from other students and professors around the world, Faircloth said. It also incorporates personal interaction and discipleship. The cohort will meet virtually several times, in addition to the two, one-week summer seminars, to engage with one another and their instructors.
“This is for anybody in ministry anywhere in the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Nairobi or Delhi or Kuala Lumpur,” Faircloth said. “It’s an opportunity for U.S. students to learn from global voices.”
Faircloth fell in love with intercultural work as a PBA student. He participated in mission trips to Northern Ireland and to Mexico, where he returned on his own in the summer months.
“I decided that’s what I wanted to do with my life,” he said.
After graduating from PBA, Faircloth organized short-term missions programs for Wycliffe Bible Translators in Orlando, Florida. Faircloth went on to earn a Master of Arts and Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) in Wake Forest, North Carolina, a Doctor of Missiology from Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Bristol.
Early in his studies, Faircloth and his wife, Christine, a nurse, were scheduled for a three-year assignment in northern Thailand. Their family, which grew to include two children, lived and worked in Southeast Asia for 15 years. They returned to the U.S. for the opportunity at PBA.
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Photo 1: Dr. Kyle Faircloth, a PBA alumnus, is director of the new Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies.
Photo 2: The Faircloth family, which grew to include two children, lived and worked in Southeast Asia for 15 years.