It is now my 4th week at Tilsley Bible college in Scotland and it is time for some updates.
The course is centered around three key points: knowing, doing and being.
- A sound knowledge of the content of the Scriptures, of the central Christian doctrines, Christian history and ministry and missional issues.
- working with church and organisations in the community and acquire experience in children and youth ministry and in social justice.
- mature in our relationship with God and with others, learn to work personally and corporately for Christ’s Kingdom.
What it means is that we study, serve and live together. The being is that we live in an intentional community; we have every meal together and clean after one another, we are also encourage to study together, this is for our character building, to be made more like Christ. We’ll also have two missions together as, one in Italy next month! For the knowing we have all sorts of classes. So far we have had Systematic Theology, Christian living, Children ministry, personal evangelism, study of the gospel of Luke and this week and for the next two weeks we are doing an Old Testament survey. We’ll have to remember names and dates and places in the OT and write an essay about one part of the OT history that isn’t well-known. For the doing we have two placements each week, I have one in a soup kitchen serving food to the poor and one in a youth club playing at church with the children and teenagers of the community.
What I find the most challenging is to be in that bubble and rarely leave the actual college. We are only 9 in the first year and that is great for learning but can feel quite claustrophobic. Our class is on the ground floor and our bedrooms on the second floor. Our Christian living teacher told us that if he were to bump into us in the college and ask us what we have read in the Bible today and what was God saying to us, we should be able to answer him. It is a good way to hold each other accountable but can also make us feel slightly guilty. I have found having a timed devotion every morning and evening very helpful and rewarding for my spiritual health and closeness to God but I believe there is a risk for spiritual obesity. I mean by that that if we would learn and learn and store biblical and spiritual truths but not share them that isn’t beneficial to anybody but for us. The risk is to being godly for the sake of being godly. We are indeed training for godliness, for righteousness (1 Timothy 4:7 “Train yourself for godliness/to be godly” NIV or ESV) and that is for the glory of God. We are made like Christ to glorify Him, to bring people to Christ, we are His ambassadors and our ministry is a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18 “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation“). In some Bible colleges students don’t have weekly placements and I believe that is essential not to loose sight with the world we are being trained to reach to. I was thinking about it during my fist weeks and couldn’t put into words how I felt about it and then it came to me as follows: “I feel like a lamp under a basket.” This is from what Jesus says, a passage I hold dear: Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” I have less opportunities than in Bristol to share my faith with others and therefore I must make the most out of every opportunities and pray for them. Also of course I am equipped for the future and a lot of what I am learning I believe will be beneficial to others in the future. This is why we equipped ourselves isn’t it? This is why we prepare ourselves.
The other thing is that I can write about what I am learning in this blog and pray you would get something out of it 🙂 . So watch out for my next blog posts!
So the being, the learning and the doing is what will shape our year at Tilsley college and shape us to be more like our Saviour. This is the beginning of an exciting adventure and I am sure we will see transformation in ourselves very quickly.