Committing to a course of study at degree level is no small commitment. Whether it’s a single module or the full degree programme, it takes time, energy, and effort to complete. But like most things in life, the more you put in, the more you get out and the investment in studying at this level is well worth it. There is no quick route to deep formation and we consider learning within a community, over a period of time, alongside fellow students and trained educators, is the best way to build faith-filled resilience and stimulate theological creativity.
Training comes in different shapes and sizes, but in keeping with the wider culture of instant gratification, too often there’s an emphasis on the immediate only showing people “how to” without stopping and stepping back to consider the “why”. As a consequence we get stuck in the same patterns of thought and action, simply replicating what has come before. Unless we go beyond a simple skills training and move towards energising people to think critically, we risk reducing ministry and the Christian life to functionality instead of a living, breathing, faith-fueled journey of a lifetime. While the latter takes more time, more commitment, and more investment, we think it’s worth it! But don’t take our word from it, here’s what one of current students had to say:
In so many ways, College has challenged my thinking, forced me to read further, and given me resources that have utterly whetted my appetite for what’s left of this lifetime of faith and study (and now ministry). It seems to me that theology encapsulates and energises everything else I love: literature, languages, interpretation, philosophy, sociology, psychology, maybe even history! Everyone who wants to be in ministry should do the whole shebang, in my view. There is nothing extraneous.
There’s no denying that our world changes quickly where novel situations and complex issues arise all the time. As even the past couple of years show, there’s no way to predict what might happen next and so there’s no way that a course of study can cover every eventuality, but rather than simply being reactive, we help students to be proactive, equipping them to think critically, and formed with a kind of theological problem-solving so that when a new situation arises they can respond reflexively. Again, one of recent graduates commented:
When I pick a book – on any subject – I read those books differently. That level of critical thinking is there, and I get out much more in all of my reading. In my church, I know at least where to go to look for answers. It’s facilitated knowing where to go find solutions, and how to think/reflect on stuff. It’s all of the framework, and grounding – the skills to tackle problems, if not answers to problems themselves.
Every adventure has its highs and lows – we recognise not every moment is going to be full of excitement, some weeks it will feel like a slog to read or write. But what we can guarantee is that when you look back over a term, a year, or perhaps several years, you’ll realise just how far you’ve come, just how much you’ve learned, and ultimately the depth of formation that has taken place in your life.
Applications for September 2022 are now open so why not join us for the adventure of a lifetime?