The theological girl of my dreams
For fifteen years in full-time gospel ministry, I had wanted some solid, formal theological training. But I’d given up looking. The reason was that no course on offer squared with what I was looking for. So when I came to the UK from Australia, it wasn’t with plans to study with Crosslands or anywhere else.
What was I in the market for? Robust biblical input, passionately Christ-centred and pastorally informed; a recognised course, but not one that required me to pull out of my ministry context and into full-time study. Nor was I interested in a part-time course spread out over many years. Along with this I wanted to interact with other students, to build friendships and networks with others in gospel ministry. Even now those desires seem, as they did before, unrealistic.
For this reason, Crosslands has been to me a surprise, a blessing and a privilege. Perhaps it’s going too far to say that it’s been something like the Theological education equivalent of the girl of my dreams: “Where’ve you been all my life?” It’s certainly not going too far to say it’s been one of the highlights of my time in the UK.
Two years into the three-year Crosslands course, I can say it has been thoroughly excellent. I’ve learned much from the quality content delivered by mature and approachable lecturers with a strong heart for mission; I’ve made what I expect will be lifelong friendships. My preaching has developed a lot, as has my grasp of the Bible. The once-messy theological room of my mind is a lot tidier, fitted out with solid furniture, shelves and hooks to hang and store away what I’ve learned on the course, as well as what I knew before. All of this will be invaluable as I move, Lord-willing, toward a future church plant.
My only gripe with the course is that it’s not offered in my home country of Australia! Hopefully that day will come soon, courtesy of Acts 29 and Oak Hill. If I can be a part of helping make that happen, I’ll be very glad.
Richard Priebbenow, Seminary-level student