‘So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.’ (Ephesians 4:11-13)
In one of the most inspiring passages in the book of Ephesians, we are told that when Christ ascended, he gave gifts to his people. But what are these gifts? Surprisingly, they are people. First and foremost they are the apostles and prophets, but they are also ‘the evangelists, the pastors and teachers’. If you are called to ministry, then you are in this list.
You are the gift Christ makes to his church. We often think of ministry as something God gives you, but these verses show that what God is giving is you and your ministry to the church. That puts things in a different light. It raises a question worth thinking about:
How can I become the best possible gift for Christ to give to his Church?
At Oak Hill, we want you to be this best possible gift. Above all, this involves you growing to become more and more like Christ, in love, truth and joy. Specifically, it means you developing in godly character, in the competencies of effective church leadership, and in the core knowledge and skills of biblical and theological wisdom.
We are convinced that the most effective way to encourage this growth is in the immersive experience of a learning and worshipping community. Residential theological education is not time out of ministry, but a strategic redirection of your ministry for a time.
You might feel that this kind of theological training is costly. And that’s true. It’s costly financially, and it’s costly personally, as you leave your church community to come to college. But there’s another kind of costly, and that’s the cost to God’s people of not having leaders who are properly educated in theology and trained for service.
Please read our booklet, The Best Possible Gift, which looks at the case for in-depth theological training. It features brief interviews with people who are currently in training or who are now doing gospel ministry in different contexts in the UK and Ireland.