Spurgeon's College

Equipping for Mission and Ministry

Ali Boddington Baptist MinistryAli BoddingtonHawkinge Baptist Church

My name is Ali Boddington and I am the full-time minister at Hawkinge Baptist Church in Kent. I graduated from Spurgeon’s college in June 2013 after completing a degree as part of my Baptist ministerial training. I undertook the church-based course, meaning I spent three days of my week studying at Spurgeon’s and three days at my church placement in Hawkinge. The course has helped me in so many ways to develop as a minister it would be hard to list them all. But specifically I found the theological study of the degree demanding, stimulating and inspiring. I felt challenged to be able to give a reason for the hope which I have. The teaching on a variety of practical and pastoral issues throughout the course was highly beneficial to me in my role as minister in training, but I know I will probably appreciate it even more as I continue now into full-time ministry. I know that my time at Spurgeon’s and the things that I have learned have benefitted me in the past, but I also know they will serve me and my ministry now and for many years to come.

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Karl Relton Baptist Ministry (evangelist/pioneer)Karl ReltonCountess Free Church, Ely

I soon discovered that studying at Spurgeon’s is about so much more than getting a ministry qualification or fulfilling a training requirement. It was part of God's bigger process of stretching, undoing, and re-forming me towards the kind of person He wanted me to be. Taking us deeper in our own faith, wider in our vision, and broader in our understanding of both fellow Christians and the world, the course units laid solid foundations that I am sure I will rely on for years to come.

Training as an evangelist for Baptist ministry I enjoyed the fact that there was no prescribed 'answer' or set pattern to sign up to. Instead the combination of staff, course offering and mutual discovery with fellow students worked together to help me get a greater sense of where the Spirit was leading, and gave me both the tools and the necessary concepts to make sense of it all.

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Joe Haward Church PlantingJoe HawardThis Hope Baptist Church, Newton Abbot

Spurgeon's College provided me with the discipleship and training that has been, and continues to be, a source of endurance and encouragement for the ministry that God has given me.

After completing my studies, my family and I moved to South Devon to pioneer a church plant from scratch.  Any call into ministry is demanding and challenging, whilst woven together with great joy and delight. This means that proper training and preparation is vital. Pioneering work demands a lot from you, and Spurgeon's gave me the theological stability, spiritual clarity and biblical passion which has been great preparation for how we are now serving God.

Training is one thing, but God has to call you into ministry. Spurgeon's provided me with the training that tested and recognised that calling, always showing that they never take lightly the responsibility of equipping women and men called by God.  

A love for theology and ethics, history and culture, Scripture and prayer fuse themselves together in my own ministry, and this is something I believe Spurgeon's instilled within me.

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Jennifer Shields Lay MinistryJennifer ShieldsNew Life Assembly Church, Dulwich

Wow, what an amazing journey I’ve been on from 2005 at this incredible college! When I embarked on the part-time study my sole aspiration was to know God more intimately through sound theological studies. I thought the one-year ‘Awards programme’ would suffice but all the while God had a better plan. By the end of the year I had caught the ‘study bug’ and never stopped until I completed the 6 years part-time degree!

The support I received from tutors, who saw potential in me more than I saw in myself, was second to none. Not only were they experts in their field but relentless in their support to see students thoroughly equipped for ministry. The knowledge acquired over the years has thrust me into ministry with greater confidence. I now lead worship from a bolder theological standing and a greater sense of call.  Furthermore, the skills that I’ve acquired at Spurgeon’s have enabled me to teach biblical principles on worship with a servant’s heart being at the very helm. Even as I write I feel my heart ‘strangely warmed’ towards the Master’s programme! Thank you Spurgeon’s College!

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Hiba Hamad Lay MinistryHiba HamadRuach City Church, Kilburn

I came to Spurgeon's College seeking to know God more and his word. I was provided through my journey at the College with different aspects of how to grow in knowledge and in theological understanding. Rather than being spoon fed, in Spurgeon's I was encouraged to develop my own searching methods and to find my own grounds for believing in regard to different theological arguments and to find where I stand. In addition it significantly helped me in my understanding of the scriptures and my using and writing of exegetical notes and preaching.

Spurgeon's has helped me in raising the level of my personal confidence especially in public speaking engagements and enriched my awareness of the different methods and styles in leading worship. Joining the daily worship in the College chapel I found especially inspiring as well as being both interesting and informative to share with brothers and sisters from different backgrounds

The staff were supportive and helpful and very flexible.

Lastly Spurgeon's also opened doors for me to meet a lovely group of people from different backgrounds and walks of life. Meeting my friends, who I now consider brothers and sisters, and praying our ways through in good and bad times and sharing our experiences widened my spirituality and was what I count the greatest privileges of all.

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Linda Turner Baptist Lay Pastor/Lay PreacherLinda TurnerCornerstone Baptist Church, Martham

The Equipped to Minister Course does exactly what it says on the tin. I had been a Christian of forty years, with experience in preaching, leading services and overseas mission, but this was still no comparison to the knowledge and learning I received on this wonderful course.

Understanding how the Bible was written, brought to life the authoritative Word of God. Exploring our history, Christian heritage, spiritual lifestyle and evangelistic mission enabled me to develop not only personally but also spiritually.

Undertaking this course prepared me to become a pastor in the Baptist Church. The guidance and in-depth knowledge of the tutors, the discussions and exploration of my faith, the meeting of others on the same journey, all helped to encourage and support me.

It not only facilitated my development and increased my knowledge but it also helped me to gain more confidence in my caring and pastoral role, and gave me the ability to communicate and speak with more authority.

The whole experience re-ignited my enthusiasm for the Word; my experience of being on the 'Equipped to Minister' course has enabled me to develop more holistically as a Christian and increased my desire to serve God.

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Ray Ahern Baptist Lay Pastor/Lay PreacherRay AhernStaplehurst Free Church

The ‘Equipped to Minister’ course has provided an excellent grounding in preparing me for full-time ministry as Pastor of Staplehurst Free Church.  The quality of the teaching is the best I have experienced with tutors able to balance very strong theological understanding with real world practical experience which has brought every module to life.  The opportunity to meet other church leaders from differing backgrounds, experiences and denominations has also provided a rich opportunity for sharing ideas and for establishing a support network beyond the life of the course.  Whether you are already a graduate or embarking on biblical study for the first time, this course really will equip those who are either preparing for church leadership or curious to know more about it.  You can also be assured of excellent support from all the staff and tutors at the college as well as fellow students who will quickly become friends!

How can Equipped to Minister help you?

Phil Timson Wider Christian MinistryPhil TimsonYouth Director, Hope Together

My calling as an evangelist has undoubtedly been shaped and nurtured through my time at Spurgeon’s. I have had the privilege of seeing my biblical understanding of mission grounded, alongside many other theological areas that continue to inform my life and ministry as an evangelist. In today’s post-modern society evangelism does not enjoy good press, yet the call of the evangelist remains central to God’s purposes for our nation. My training with Spurgeon’s has enabled me to contextualise my missional practice and engage effectively with the diverse culture around me. Through excellent teaching and ongoing reflection I have been able to develop my skills of introducing people to Jesus. Through my training with Spurgeon’s I now have a solid foundation from which God continues to outwork his call on my life.

Additionally, I have benefitted from the core training for Baptist ministry, broadening my skill base and experience, and extending the opportunities available to me.  We must recognise the importance of community and relationship in our call as evangelists, but also in our own growth as disciples of Jesus Christ. With this in mind, the friendship, accountability and support experienced with other Baptist ministers and evangelists through the college process, as well as with the tutors has proved invaluable.

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Gareth Murray Jr Wider Christian MinistryGareth Murray JrAdjunct Professor, John Leland Center for Theological Studies, Arlington, Virginia, USA

As an American, simply by one’s circumstances of geography, one can become intellectually insulated from the vibrant theological discourses taking place in the wider world.  With London being a hub for international travel and culture, Spurgeon’s College has become a natural point of intersection for people from many nations to come and think about God.  This context afforded me the unique opportunity to step outside of my own perspective and culture, and to be exposed to the rich life and thought of others from a wide array of backgrounds, experiences, and worldviews.  As a result, my theological education and ministerial formation at Spurgeon’s College has equipped me for international ministry like no other American seminary or university could. 

I have since ministered in many countries across multiple continents, and I owe much of my success to the transformation of my heart and soul experienced while at Spurgeon’s College.  Back home in the USA, Spurgeon’s College continues to be a widely recognized name that has opened doors for me to teach in Baptist and non-Baptist seminaries alike and to move forward expediently with my ordination.  Come now and be transformed!

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Helen Wordsworth Lifelong Learning in MinistryHelen WordsworthRegional Minister, Central Baptist Association

My passion for mission began a long time ago while I was in the middle of a nursing career, and was eventually outworked in a rural context as we moved from a large London suburban area to a small village in the Midlands. There I was soon thrown in the deep end of leadership responsibility and looked around for training of some kind.  At the time Spurgeon’s were running weekend leadership courses and I joined up with enthusiasm. Feeling deeply encouraged by what I was learning I looked for more, but having small children I needed something that was flexible.  That led on to the Cambridge theology diploma by distance learning and then Church planting and Evangelism training, travelling down to college on the “milk” train once a week. 

The local Baptist Ministerial Recognition Committee commended me for accreditation but although my local church had recognised my call, they had not at that time recognised the place of women in ministry.  (They have now!!)  So my placement was trans-local, across the district churches.  It was good preparation for what was to come. All of my ministry since then has been translocal, helping churches to find new ways of reaching out in mission. 

I have always found my days at Spurgeon’s to be deeply encouraging and stimulating, so I haven’t stopped being a student. It was the part-time Masters course in Applied Theology that led me to look at Parish Nursing as a mission opportunity for churches in the UK and the subsequent development of Parish Nursing ministries UK.  And after that I went on to doctoral studies, studying the mission of local churches and the effect that the appointment of a parish nurse was having on a church’s outreach.   So Spurgeon’s has become part of my life ... and a very important partner in the development of this whole new mission initiative.

I can’t commend the benefit of life-long learning enough.  If you are giving out all the time you need to take in as well. Yes you have to make time for it ... but the investment is truly worthwhile. I’m just wondering what to do next!!!!

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Vanessa Wiggins Church Training InitiativeVanessa WigginsChurch Member, Portsmouth

I have thoroughly enjoyed studying a selection of packs from the Church Training Initiative and they have provided a good focus for my own reading of the Bible. The variety of titles on offer meant that there were plenty of topics that appealed to me. Some were really informative, giving a biblical basis for Baptist practice and compulsory reading for anyone going into membership or a church leadership role. Others were deeply challenging, moving and thought provoking, like the modules on marriage and bereavement. Every unit was a springboard for much interesting discussion with my husband and offered different practical applications that were useful in both personal life and church life.  The packs were simple to work through at my own pace and I would recommend them to everyone who likes to explore faith in action in a biblical way.

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David Howling Church PlantingDavid HowlingPulborough Brooks Baptist Church

I joined Spurgeon's College after a career in industrial R&D where on-going training was not only considered desirable but essential for continued professional development. It was great to find at Spurgeon's a similar ethos and a learning environment that is both challenging, stimulating and at the same time, highly practical. The range of modules that are available to study ensures not only that all the basics are covered but also provides opportunities to delve deeper into areas of interest on a continuing basis. During my time at College, I have discovered a passion for mission and I have found the opportunity to pursue post graduate studies extremely useful in support of ministry in a newly planted church. I don't think that I could have engaged in such a venture without the confidence and inspiration gained from the subjects that I studied, and of course the tutors themselves, at Spurgeon's College.

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