Alex Stephenson (Preparation for Ministry)
From time to time, God speaks to us in the most obscure places. For me, this was in 2016 while driving along a dirt road in rural South Africa. The burden for the lack of teaching in an African context weighed down on my shoulders and began the formation of a personal mission statement: ‘Get taught well to teach others well’.
After several conversations, thoughtful prayer and the interview process, I commenced the BD Preparation for Ministry course at the Irish Baptist College in September 2017. God has used the combination of meticulous theological study and invaluable ministry opportunities to provide the tools necessary for a lifelong pursuit of my mission statement.
I am thankful to my shepherd Jesus who has and continues to lead me; for the faithful dedication of the lecturers at IBC; for the gospel partnership formed with my fellow students; for the fruitful placement at Magherafelt Baptist Church; and for the sustaining prayers of my home Church, Bethany Baptist.
I am excited to see how God will use my training at IBC to expand and strengthen his kingdom.
Elvin Gilmore (Ballymena Evening Class)
Having been a Christian from the age of six and brought up in a Christian home, I have been steeped in the routine of church life. Over the years I have been involved in Child Evangelism Fellowship, Good News Club, youth leadership and music ministries. However I have always felt a lack of knowledge of God’s Word and biblical background.
I was thrilled to discover the Christian Education Course was offered at Ballymena where there was a welcoming atmosphere. It has had a great impact as lecturers have sought to bring deeper insights to the Scriptures in overviews and book studies, plus many other relevant subjects. The opportunity to write essays encouraged wider reading and this has given me a greater understanding of the topics.
At the time of writing we are covering Basic Bible Doctrine, What is the Bible and What is Mission. The challenge is to ensure we know the truth-filled basis of our faith. Personally, I found the mission lectures to be deeply moving. I am now in my third year and I have thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship and the invaluable teaching which I know will be of such benefit wherever God places me in the days ahead.
Joanne Black (Strandtown Evening Class)
My name is Joanne, I am a mother of three and a grandmother to one. I have been attending Strandtown Baptist for about three and a half years now. I accepted Jesus as my Saviour many years ago and have attended different churches over the years but didn’t have any direction as to where God was leading me. I saw a leaflet in church about the Irish Baptist College and made an enquiry as to how I could attend. I am half-way through my second year in the College. I have made new friends and am learning lots through covering topics such as the Reformation, Basic Christian Beliefs, Family Matters, the Life of Paul, Romans and Introduction to the Gospels.
The course I am doing is a part-time evening class, often accompanied by my 9-year-old daughter as I am a single mum. I had never written an essay until I started this course because my school days were more about being part of the dance class than learning. With the patience and advice of my teachers I was able to complete them. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to know more and get a better understanding of God’s word and the people who lived and witnessed the ministry of Jesus. I don’t know where I am going yet but I know that God has a good and perfect plan for my life and I just have to remain obedient for His glory.