by Cecilia Symonds
I undertook the Diploma of Christian Ministry and Theology in 2020. It was an incredible experience, and helped bolster and strengthen my existing skills in Ministry, and deepen my understanding of Theology.
The course empowered me by providing tools and resources with which to better understand scripture, which has made me a better Bible study leader. The course also had practical components, such as leading services, and doing these practical elements with the course helped me to take on these roles in my Church community. The structure of the course, being mostly online, was fantastic for me, as it helped me balance work and Church commitments with my units of study, as I work full-time in the Australian Public Service (APS).
I wanted to do the course because I had always wanted to study Theology and learn more about the Bible and Christianity, but I didn’t want to commit to a full Bachelor of Theology while working full-time. My expectations were that I would strengthen my existing Ministry skills and understanding of the Bible, but I was surprised by how the course also assisted me to increase the breadth of my Ministry skills, including doing things like preparing a talk on the Bible, and writing the prayers for my weekly service at St. John’s Reid. This course has helped me follow Jesus by helping me identify the skills and gifts I have in serving God, and giving me the tools to utilise these skills more effectively.
In the past at my Church I had been involved with music ministry and leading a Bible study, as well as being a member of Parish Council. The course helped me identify that leading a Church service was something I would really enjoy, and gave me helpful prompts to assist in being effective when I led the service. The course resources were also fantastic, with both online resources and an excellent syllabus of textbooks which were assigned for the course. These resources provided an opportunity for me to deep dive into subjects I have always been interested in, such as how the Nicene Creed was developed, and what the Eucharist means for different denominations of the Christian Church.
The support that the staff provided me throughout the course was excellent. Staff at St. Mark’s were available to talk through any difficulties I had with assignments, and when work commitments increased for my APS job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Mark’s were flexible and supportive with deadlines. The Intensives for the course were a lovely way to connect and learn from and with other students in the course, and were a rich learning experience.
I would encourage anyone who is thinking the course might suit them to just go for it!