One year after opening, Queensland’s newest ministry college continues to grow. Journey explores.
Newlife Uniting Church is celebrating the first full year of operations for its new ministry college.
Newlife College ran two full semesters last year, and campus coordinator Shahn Dee is looking forward to what 2016 will bring.
“We’ve just finished our first year of enrolling and teaching students,” she says. “It’s been exciting; it’s been a good year.
“We’ve had more students than we’d business planned for, and now we’ve got new subjects for this year.
“We’ve had a really broad cross-section of age groups and genders, but I would say half of the students are young … I’d say it’s a 50/50 split between people who are looking to pursue a career in ministry and people who are doing it to grow their faith.”
The college was founded at the tail end of 2014 and is accredited through the Adelaide College of Divinity. It operates in partnership with the Uniting College of Leadership and Theology in South Australia and the two institutions share lecturers.
Ori Zacher is young families pastor at Newlife Uniting Church and a student at the college.
“The calibre of the teaching we’ve been able to sit under has been excellent, and you’re challenged to think critically,” he says.
“You’re pushed into some of those more uncomfortable spaces where you work some of these things out for yourself in terms of your theology and your convictions and so forth.”
Newlife College is one expression of Newlife Uniting Church’s commitment to developing missional leaders, says Shahn.
“I think Newlife Church particularly has embraced and understood the need for well-equipped leaders in our churches and our community. So that really has been the philosophy behind the college,” she says.
“We see a need to equip people to be leaders in their fields and more and more we’re looking at this as a vehicle to equip students theologically, biblically, giving them a sound biblical theological grounding.
“It’s very exciting. It’s exciting to watch it grow and as we’re growing we’re developing … We’re looking at ways we can fine-tune it into being a resource that equips people to plant churches so that we can grow the kingdom. That’s the vision for what we’re doing.”