Opinion Article – by Don Smith (PhD student)
I am probably the most senior “student” at Malyon Theological College. I am fortunate in having been given opportunity to engage in formal studies at different times in my life. I think of those who have not yet had that opportunity and I ask myself, why, in an era when access to such studies is easier and more flexible, are there not more students here at Malyon; students of all ages, from different life experiences and different phases of life? Are you open to this God-given opportunity? Not you! Please read on.
Some years ago I was lecturing in Human Services at Christian Heritage College and I realised that in my classes and others classes in Human Services and Counselling, there were mature age women who had never previously had the opportunity of undertaking tertiary studies. Now, having been involved in pastoral care and other ministries in their churches for their whole life, and with their children grown up, they had the opportunity of gaining the benefit of input they had never dreamed possible – and possibly even a recognised qualification in an area of ministry in which they already had considerable practical experience – or maybe an opportunity to take on a new ministry. So, ladies, is God calling you to college?
But, I couldn’t do the work. University would be too hard for me. I’ve hardly read a book for years! NOT TRUE. Mature age students do equally well (sometime “better”) than school leavers. College study can start slowly. It can be from auditing just one subject to thinking of a full course. It can be part time or full time (which isn’t as “full” as it sounds). It can be inexpensive, or there could be financial support available to you.
Men and women – do you have a little more time available; maybe, but for grandchildren, you are “retired”. What an opportunity to come to college and study. Perhaps a biblical studies unit to begin with; perhaps something on chaplaincy; perhaps even study youth ministry to enhance your role as a mentor to the youth workers in your church!
College classes need to be inter-generational, with huge benefit to all: the older sharing life experience and maybe even a bit of wisdom; the younger sharing a fresh take on ministry or on the church and even helping with IT stuff. Why not study with your kids or even your grandkids?
Recent school leavers? Maybe you don’t yet know what you want to do – and chances are you will change your mind, change your uni studies and through your life, change your career – even a number of times. Is God calling you, at least for a season, to “Bible College”? Young adults, why not you?
I look forward to hearing that many more inquiries and many more enrolments are happening at Malyon. Units of study and even whole qualifications are now more easily available (thank COVID for something) and can fit with other commitments. Study on-line; on-demand (or attend classes). Picture yourself some years down the track, all dressed up in a cap and gown, being called on stage to receive your diploma or degree.