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Ministry Monday: Hopes on the Hill

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Posted by Tom Woolford, 3 Oct 2016

Tom Woolford asked a handful of ordinands at Oak Hill what they hope God will give them from their time at college.

What do young ordinands hope for from theological college?

Growth in godliness
“It’s wonderful to be surrounded by so many godly men and women who possess and live out aspects of a Christlike character that I’d love to see growing in my own life. And that’s great, because you often become quite like the people you spend the most time with – which I suppose is one of the distinctive formational benefits of full-time residential training.”

“I hope that by my time in the college community, I will learn to love people better and in a way that is always honouring to Christ.”

“I pray that I will know even more what it means to live a godly, righteous, and disciplined life; that I will care more about what God thinks of me, and less about what people think of me.”

Thorough in theology
“I want to learn how to engage with theologians past and present – to know both how to remain faithfully orthodox myself, and how to diagnose and refute error.”

“I’m hoping to go deeper in understanding how God’s revelation of himself is the richest, wisest, most powerful and most beautiful message anyone could ever hear; to become more convinced of its power in my own life; and to learn how better to help those who at the moment have no interest in it at all see it for what it truly is.”

“I’ve come to college with the hope that I will receive a rounded, practical theological education which will enable me to keep learning for this lifetime, to understand and interact with helpful teaching, and to defend myself and others against those who contradict sound doctrine.”

Learnéd in languages
“My hope, particularly given the fact I’ve had the precious opportunity to have three years of full-time residential training, is to achieve a working and sustainable understanding of the biblical languages, so that I would learn to understand and treasure God’s word more, and so stand ever more firmly upon the truth therein.”

“God willing, I’m planning to gain sufficient facility in the Greek New Testament so that by the time I leave I am eager and able to read it devotionally, and not just for sermon preparation! The dream is to be able to read the Greek New Testament once through every year for the rest of my life.”

“One of my big aims is to get to a profitable level of Greek and Hebrew that informs both my devotional life and my study for teaching.”

Deeper in devotion
“I hope I will become even more convinced that God is sovereign and in control of all things, and that this will lead me humbly and trustingly to depend on him for the future he has planned.”

“I want to go deeper in joy and contentment in Christ my Saviour so that in the future, I will lead others out of that personal gospel experience.”

“Simply I pray that I will love God more, and walk more closely with him day to day, when I leave than when I arrived.”

Patterned in prayer
“I’m hoping to grow in prayer and spiritual self-discipline, and to try my best to deepen my understanding of the truth so that I can humbly help others to do the same when I leave.”

“An ongoing aim for my time at college is to be at least as prayerful when I leave as when I first arrived! That doesn’t sound particularly aspirational, but it’s one of the things I have found surprisingly hard this past year – perhaps related to my being somewhat removed from frontline engagement with the pastoral crises of struggling Christians, perhaps because I’m more intellectually tired by the demands of study and so find it hard to concentrate in prayer, or perhaps because the Spirit is exposing my selfishness during this season.”

Confidence in communicating
“I simply hope I will grow in my ability to handle and teach God’s word in contemporary culture.”

“I’d love God to make me a bolder witness, who actually takes the opportunities he gives me to talk about Jesus.”

“My prayer is particularly that over these three years I would grow in skill and confidence in conversational apologetics so that I can winsomely and powerfully present and explain the Christian faith to those of other religions and none.”

Thanks to Ian, Tim, Charlie, Paul, Alex, Stewart, Andrew and Chris. Please pray for them, and all ordinands, that God would graciously grant these desires.

Tom Woolford is a Diocese of Blackburn ordinand studying at Oak Hill College

Photo by Darren Tunnicliff

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