Every year when we talk to potential students we find one of the most important questions we get asked is “but what’s it really like to study at SBC?” Of course we can talk about the modules we teach, or the timetable, or any number of pragmatic details, but as a prospective student you still want to know what it’s really like to study with us. Our best answer to that is to point to our vision and values and try to say why they are so important, not just for shaping what we teach, but understanding that who we are and how we learn is just as important as the “what”.
And this has been important as we develop the way we deliver our modules. We don’t think learning in isolation works and we don’t think that watching pre-recorded generic material generally works for theology. So in all our teaching we’re committed to learning in community, delivered interactively, and shaped by the questions, the context, and the people in front of us. And that’s whether you’re with us in-person in a classroom on our Paisley campus, or in-person in an online classroom.
Below we share a little bit of what motivates us and what shapes the way we form our learning community. We hope it inspires you to join us in September!
We begin with a focus on holistic education. We’re a learning community and a community of practice – that means we believe “how” we learn is important for “what” we learn. We learn together, we learn through conversation, and we learn even when we’re not in the classroom by the way we form community. It’s not just learning about, or even learning to do, but it’s learning to become.
When we use the phrase “mission and ministry” we use it in the broadest sense. Our graduates go into many different vocations from teaching to caring professions, to NHS and HMP chaplaincy roles, and beyond. We see participation in God’s mission happening in many different ways and we see ministry as taking place in a wide variety of contexts. In that light, SBC aims to equip students to help them adapt to all kinds of mission and ministry contexts and for a variety of vocational callings.
Nourish is such a rich word associated with ideas of nurture, care, growth, and development. At SBC we aim to provide a learning environment that truly nourishes faith. We don’t shy away from difficult questions but recognise that to grow well requires the proper environment and care. We’re a community of faith that journeys together through all our highs and lows as we learn what it is to participate in the life and love of God.
Sometimes students come with a clear vision of their direction; other times they have a less clear path ahead. Either way, we realise we’re just a stepping stone helping students to fulfil their call by equipping them to serve. And we love that! We love helping students find their passion and develop their ministry; we love inspiring students to dive deeper; and we love being a part of someone’s journey shaping them as they go along. Our students really are the heartbeat of SBC and as they grow and develop, the whole community grows and develops.
We are a welcoming, encouraging, and supportive community irrespective of background. This kind of sentiment is heard a lot but it doesn’t always end up being true. For us, however, it goes deeper than just an aspiration. First, we think the best way to practice theology is to learn in community; second, we think that to learn broadly and deeply requires diversity in the learning community; and finally, in order to foster that diversity we need to be a welcoming and supportive community. So for us, it’s not just about being friendly, it goes to the heart of what it is to live and learn faithfully. So although we are baptistic, we’re not just here for Baptists; and while we train church ministers, we’re not just here to train ministers. And we could go on, but the main thing is we hope you could see yourself being a part of our learning community.