While most look to the AC Hub School-Tertiary relationship for its revolutionary contributions to initial teacher education, it also has other strengths. In 2018, the St Philips group of schools introduced the Cert III Ministry onto its Waratah campus, as an alternative to traditional approaches to Studies of Religion in Year 11. The results have been profound in that most important of indices -- impact on the lives of students. We include here the first of series of self-reflections by students learning under Kieran Bridger. Obviously, we cannot identify students by name, but one student (let's call him Jesse) reflected on the year of ministry training like this:
Jesse: The first thing that comes to mind that I’ve learnt in this course is the difficulty of leadership. The dedication and responsibility that it takes to be a leader is not for everyone, but the responsibility is a blessing. Being chosen by God as a model that someone should work to be like is a reward in and of itself. This course has helped me to understand what it means to be a leader and shown me that there is no such thing as a 'text-book' leader: each leader has their own unique form of it. Through the year, I learnt about my style of leadership. It is unique and difficult to explain but I think I’m the type of leader that gets behind someone and pushes them further than I can go myself. I help them to become strong enough to not need my leadership anymore once they become a strong leader in their own way. I believe my leadership strengths are delegation and exhortation. However, I struggle when a task is not people focussed, as I am a people-person.
The second thing that comes to mind on what I’ve learnt is the importance of a team. I’ve always valued teams, but never been great at being in them. This course has helped me to see the vitality that a team is to both ministry and life. I feel blessed to have been a part of our ministry team and I really care for each member. However, teamwork can be difficult and team-leading even more so and over the course of the year I made a couple of mistakes. These mistakes were necessary for my growth and have helped me to become a better team-builder and leader. I think the key to a team is that all team members are valued and loved by the other team members, and I find that our ministry team has begun to work much more fluently since we began to care about each other. As for teamwork in my own life, I have worked this year to create stronger and better friendships that help me to grow closer to God and my calling. The people around us change who we are and how we act so much, and this course has helped me to have the confidence to make changes and take risks in relationships. I’ve still got a long way to go in the area of teamwork in both ministry and life, but the improvements that I have made this year bring me pride.
I’ve grown a lot this year in my understanding of God’s relational nature. I think it is much easier to have God as a dictator of your life, because it is so impersonal, and he has little influence on your heart, but when you build a relationship with Him, it all becomes much more real. God becomes a friend. Someone who is actively in your life and who’s life you want to actively be in. I am working on my relationship with the Lord, and even though I may not be following Him as well as I have before I understand the relationality more than I ever have before. I would like to continue to grow closer to the Lord even though I am irrationally fearful of what a relationship with Him looks like. I fear that it means giving up my life and losing my free will, but it is indeed the opposite. God is the creator of free will and values individuality. Yes, being in relationship with God sets boundaries, but it also allows true freedom. This I struggle to grasp, even though I know it to be true. I need to learn to walk with the Lord.
I’ve also grown a lot this year in my simplicity. I used to like things to be simple and easy to understand. I believed that all things could be broken down into simple easy parts. While all things often look more complicated than they are, some things are just complicated. I’ve learnt not to simplify a situation, but to instead figure out it’s complexities and simplify the solution. People often know the complexities of their situation and through communication and understanding one can help them to see the way through it. My ability to make things understandable is a gift from God, and I thoroughly enjoy using it. This course has helped me learn how to use that gift more effectively.
One strong revelation that I’ve gotten from this course is that I need to stop approaching learning as a means to ministering to people in the future, but instead to minister to the people who are already in my life and to learn practically. This has helped me to change my outlook and work on my strengths in a more productive and effective manner.
I really appreciate everything that this course has done for me and the things I have learnt have had a strong effect on me and hopefully a strong effect on my future ministry.
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As class leader Kieran noted, "The level of maturity and reflection emerging from these young men and women is astounding. The fact that the Hub enables us to create integrated pathways which are embedded in the whole of school approach to helping students learn and mature is a powerful addition to the school's mission." In 2019, SPCC is implementing a much broader range of VET programs, including not just professional pathways such as Tourism and Education Support, but a cross-campus Leadership program which will structure the learning experience of all student leaders across all five SPCC campuses.
CFS researchers and staff contribute regularly to the FSB. The aim is to keep you in the loop as to the range of our activities, perhaps suggesting points of common interest.