Tag Archives: QTC

A new dawn

College starts today. Robyn and I decided to set a precedent and be on time. Early even. So we left home at 7am. I didn’t even know there was a 7am. Let alone a 6am.

Needless to say we got to college fairly early. Earlier than anybody else – staff included.

There are 84 students at QTC this year apparently – and more than half of those are first years. And we’re keener than all of them (judging by arrival time alone).

Simone, in a little piece of offline wisdom, told us that the first few days of college are going to be all about establishing a pecking order (at least in our minds). I think it’ll be a bit like first year uni except without the low cut clothing and unrealistic expectations of finding true love in the lecture theatre.

I think pecking order should be established chronologically. So we’re first.

A new category is born

I suspect I’ll blog a fair bit about college this year. Given that it’s what I’ll predominantly be thinking about. So it seems fitting to have a College category.

For the record – I’m enrolled in a Masters of Divinity at the Queensland Theological College. Which is based at Emmanuel College at the University of Queensland.

I’m a Presbyterian Candidate which means I also have to study a bunch of subjects like church polity and the Westminster Confession.

Fun times.

Five things I’m looking forward to about Brisbane

I’ve only got four days of work left. And we’ve only got 10 days left in Townsville. Which is sad – and worthy of much reflection.

But there are some things I’m really looking forward to about life in Brisbane (even though we’ll be living in Student poverty). You should assume that most of these include the addendum “with my hot wife“…

  1. Studying the Bible (and other stuff) with other people at QTC.

  2. Working with Andrew, Simone, Pete and Mel at Clayfield Presbyterian.

  3. Living in Grovely close to my three sisters*, parents and grandma, and next door to the Lyndons.

  4. Playing (outdoor) football with (rather than against) Pete.

  5. Exploring the Brisbane coffee scene and trying out my new roaster (which I still haven’t used because we’ve got so much coffee left over from Stable on the Strand.

* For those who don’t know yet – little sister number 1 just got a job as a dentist in Brisbane (today) having been in Toowoomba. I don’t think she reads my blog – but congrats anyway little sister number 1. It’ll be fun having the whole family together.

Giving notice

I just told my employers that I won’t be here next year because I’m going to Bible College.

Good times.

I’m feeling a little deflated having been here for four years and thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Back

Holidays are almost over. We’re back in civilisation today. We had lunch with Andrew and Simone.

Which reminds me of the news of some import that is worthy of note.

Last Monday we had our interview regarding candidacy with the Presbyterian Church of Queensland – we passed. We’ll, if all goes according to plan, be studying at QTC and working at Clayfield (with Andrew and Simone) next year.

Five Reasons I’m not doing MTS

I’ve had a number of conversations with Ministry Training Scheme apologists telling me that MTS is an essential. They do it lovingly and genuinely. And MTS is a terrific program for people thinking about vocational ministry. But I don’t think it’s for me. I think it’s probably for others. I don’t think of this as a double standard. I’m not sure when MTS became an essential. I’ve no doubt it’s helpful. I just doubt that it’s necessary.

MTS apologists have also, on occasion suggested the effectiveness of one’s ministry is tied to whether or not one undertook MTS. This is rubbish.

I don’t think setting up anything as a compulsory step in the path to ministry is right.

These apologists think my reasoning is weak. And it’s hard to argue with their reasoning without sounding arrogant (which I am, and which MTS would help) – but our minds are pretty made up. We’re already well underway with the college process. I’m not sure what these guys hoped to gain outside of unsettling us.

I would have gladly done MTS if I was still single and was asked 3 years ago. But I’m not, and I wasn’t. Well, not in any convincing way.

Here is my reasoning.

  1. Finances
    Training for ministry is a significant financial sacrifice – four years living below the poverty line while potentially trying to start a family doesn’t sound like much fun – six years sounds crazy. I’m not completely driven by finances but I am a pragmatist.
  2. Time
    I want to go to college because I want to be in full time ministry (and I want to be appropriately equipped for a lifetime of doing that). College is four years of not doing the job that I want to be doing – and not taking responsibility for a ministry. 

    I am headstrong, stubborn and confident (also known as arrogant) – I don’t want to spend two years as an apprentice before spending another four years essentially being an apprentice while at college. We feel a little bit like we’ve left the college decision a year late anyway – Robyn wants to study with me, and we want to fit a family in somewhere (God willing), and adding another two years to the schedule doesn’t work.

  3. Experience
    This reason is twofold – one, our plan, prior to college – is to end up in parish ministry and I think the most important experience for parish ministry is in the workplace – not a couple of years of extra years of ministry training. 

    Two – MTS is great for giving people an experience of the lifestyle that comes with full time ministry – and the costs involved, as well as hands on responsibility for programs. I think I’ve done a fair bit of the latter – and I grew up in the former. I don’t know how much MTS could possibly teach me about life in ministry that I haven’t experienced directly or vicariously.

  4. Pragmatics
    There are practicalities and external factors driving our decision to head to college (QTC) next year. The college is in its infancy (following significant strategic and cultural change), it needs students to keep this momentum, and I’d like to be part of that.
    If we’re thinking about Townsville as a long term option (and it’s on the list) then I’d like to be in a position to be back here sooner rather than later.
  5. I have plenty of “mentors”
    MTS National Director, Ben Pharlet, was in Townsville over the weekend – his MTS apologetic was that it’s a great chance to be spiritually “fathered” ala Paul and Timothy. He may have a point on this as a “mentoring” type role – and it has made me reconsider my ill conceived mentoring rant last week. I was probably wrong there.

    But I don’t feel like this is a massive gap in my ministry armour – I’ve benefited greatly from close relationships with people in Ministry in various roles with AFES and church. I know what Christ centred gospel focused ministry looks like. I know what it costs. I know people can be draining and hard.

    From what I’ve observed in the ministry of people I know it’s brotherhood that sustains ministry in the long term. And my peers are going through college (or finishing MTS) now – or will be in the near future. I have no doubt I could find new peers later on – but why put in the relational hard yards when I’ve got a ready made group of friends already in the throes of ministry training.   

While I love and appreciate many people who have MTS’d in the past – and think it did them (and would do me) the world of good – I just don’t think

that two years of training prior to training will have a massive effect in the long term. Having spoken to many MTS graduates I’m sure it’s a good thing – I just don’t think it’s a necessary thing. Your thoughts (especially you Izaac)?

Candidacy update

Just in case any of you out there are actually wondering where we’re up to in terms of plans for the future…

I have an interview with representatives from the Presbytery of North Queensland this afternoon as the penultimate (I think) stage of enrolling at QTC as a candidate.

Exciting stuff. I hope they didn’t find my little betting sheet at church last night…