I teach at a theological college, so you could say that I am a bit biased on this topic. But I’m actually far more biased because of the way God has used study at various theological colleges to shape my life and my ministry over many years. And I’m particularly passionate about seeing women across Australia better equipped and em-passioned for ministry. So whether it’s something that has never crossed your mind before, or something you’ve thought about but not got around to, here are some good reasons why studying at theological college might just be something you should consider.
You’ll gain a good foundation in the Bible
An introduction or survey course on the Bible is a great way to dip your toe in the water of theological study. God has revealed himself to us through his Word, and taking some time to read, reflect on, and study it in a concentrated way enables you to see more of who he is and what his plans for us are. Probably my favourite subject to teach is one where I get to walk students from all kinds of other university disciplines through the big story of the Bible. Being able to see them put the Old and New Testaments together or get a sense of God’s unfolding narrative throughout history for the first time is truly a delight. If you want to hear God speak through His Word, why not consider studying it in a dedicated way with those who are gifted and equipped to teach it well?
You’ll be better equipped for life as a Christian
“Theological” might sound like a big, scary word to some but its really just about placing who God is at the centre of our thinking and unpacking life through that lens. In our cultural context, we are bombarded everyday by messages that seek to shape our understanding of the world and life within it. There are all kinds of assumptions made in the way our jobs and families and social structures are set up that are worth asking some good, godly questions about. Learning to ask the right questions in the light of who Jesus is can really help us navigate the challenges of everyday life as his followers. If you want to follow Jesus every day, why not think about gathering with others who take that challenge seriously and learning from those who have been doing so for centuries before us?
You’ll be better equipped for ministry and mission in your context
No matter where you find yourself, you have been given gifts and opportunities to play your part in God’s mission in the world, to make Jesus known. Theological study not only provides formational thinking, but helps you develop practical skills to serve wherever you are. From communication to counselling, from worship to welcoming the stranger, many theological colleges offer courses that bring you together with practitioners who can help you develop your passions and gifts in an environment where you are encouraged to have a go, make mistakes, and learn along the way. If you want to serve your church and the world, why not look into learning opportunities that can help you develop in how to do so?
God just might have a vocational calling for you
Hopefully you are getting the idea from all the above that many theological colleges are not just for “professionals” or those planning on going into full time pastoral leadership. It's much broader than that. But you also might be surprised to see how God works: when you take one step, He often reveals something new along the road. I took my first subjects at Bible College purely for my own interest. I never imagined where God would lead me, and my story is not uncommon. The church in Australia and around the world desperately needs many more women and men who are willing to give their whole lives to the work of the gospel. Why couldn’t you be one of them?
So if your interest is piqued, and you think maybe theological study is something you should at least consider, why not take a step in that direction? There are plenty of great places to study in Australia, and a great deal of flexibility with courses available online, part-time, as intensives, for audit as well as credit, and at all kinds of levels. Talk to your pastor, or someone you know who is studying. If you don’t know anyone, well, now you know me! I’d love to encourage you and help you find some options.
Melinda teaches biblical studies at Tabor College (in Adelaide and online) and also oversees the accredited ministry training of Baptist pastors in South Australia. She loves the opportunities these roles provide to see people respond to God’s call and be equipped to play their part in his purposes. Find Melinda on Twitter and her blog