Student Reflections (first and second year)
First Year by Alan McCartney
Monday 6 September 2021 marked the start of my first week at the Irish Baptist College, where I am privileged to be studying the three-year Preparation for Ministry course. Time has passed swiftly by, and with the Lord’s help I have successfully completed my first year, making many new friends along the way.
First year has been busy — essays to research and write; group presentations; sermon preparation and delivery. Evangelism Week was a highlight. Along with a small team of students we supported the work of Brannockstown Baptist Church in Co Kildare, making Gospel connections.
At the start of my first year the words I used to describe how I felt ranged from excitement to fear and trepidation! Excitement at having the opportunity to train to become a more effective servant of our Lord with like-minded believers. Fear and trepidation, as a more mature student, about adjusting from working life to student life, making ends meet, and writing essays after having been so long out of full-time education!
Almost one year on at the end of my first year, I can truly say God has been gracious and good. He has calmed the fears, provided for my needs, and helped in all the adjustments. I’m glad of our Lord’s assurance that our heavenly Father knows my needs and will provide. I need to ‘seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness’ (Matthew 6:32-33).
If God is calling you into service for him, and you want to be better prepared I want to encourage you, whatever your age, to contact the College and find out more.
Second Year by Jonny Dodds
Throughout my two years at IBC I have been blessed by the sound teaching of the faithful lecturers and fellowship with the other students. Following a first year that alternated between in-person and online teaching, I’m very grateful to have had this past year in-person for the full academic year. Academically, second year was a step up from first year, with longer essays, critical reviews and a higher standard of work required (not to mention the challenge of learning Hebrew!). However, the lecturers were extremely helpful in guiding and assisting as much as they could.
During second year, students also undertake a placement in a local church or parachurch organisation. My placement was with Barrie Clingen in Crumlin Baptist Church. This gave me an insight into what pastoral ministry looks like on a day-to-day basis. It involved preaching regularly, leading services, visitation, youth work, and general relationship-building. I am very grateful for the trust placed in me by Crumlin Baptist Church in allowing me to have so much responsibility. In particular, Barrie’s honest feedback and wise advice were extremely beneficial for me. While balancing the workload of academic study and placement was at times very challenging, it helped to prepare me for the busyness of full-time ministry.
I am extremely grateful that, in this past year, God, through IBC and Crumlin Baptist Church, has continued to edify and prepare me for whatever He has in store for me, and I look forward to beginning my third and final year of study at the Irish Baptist College in September.