May 2019

In Matthew 11:2–6, John the Baptist sends word to Jesus asking if he is ‘the one who is to come’. John had heard about the amazing things that Jesus was doing, but was not certain that they proved that Jesus was the Messiah. (Matthew, however, is quite sure, giving Jesus the title ‘Messiah’ here for the first time in his Gospel.)

It seems that John expected certain things from God’s long-awaited Messiah and Jesus’ actions did not quite fit the bill. John might have been looking for a great military leader who would end the Roman occupation and who would establish Israel as a great, independent nation-state once again. He might have expected a ruler who would take up residence in a palace and surround himself with fine things and lots of servants. This would all be in line with the great ‘Messiahs’ of the Old Testament, including David, and his son Solomon after him.

But these were not the goals of Jesus’ earthly ministry. He did not seem to have much interest at all in getting rid of the Romans, nor in establishing himself in a position of power and privilege. However, this does not mean he was not the Messiah. Rather, it means that John the Baptist was looking for the wrong things.

Jesus’ tells John’s messengers to report more of his actions so that, from them, John could continue to puzzle together his identity. ‘The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.’ For those with eyes to see, all of these things are clearly part of God establishing his Kingdom, and that means that Jesus must be the Messiah, or King. Just because they are small acts in the lives of individuals, rather than state-sized geopolitical victories, does not mean they are not signs of the Kingdom. Indeed, they may show us that God is at least as interested as manifesting the Kingdom person-by-person as he is in imposing some kind of blanket domination over everyone.

One important lesson that comes out of this passage for Christians today is that we need to make sure we are looking for the right things when considering the growth of God’s Kingdom. It may not look like a Christian state, or Christian laws, or a Christian culture, but perhaps more like lots of individuals having personal encounters with Jesus.

At Bible College SA, our ministry is all about training the next generations of gospel workers for our city and state. By ‘gospel workers’ we mean those people who, through their teaching and pastoral interactions, will help others to have personal encounters with Jesus. This will involve sharing the gospel with people who are not yet his followers, and helping those who are to grow in their faith, understanding, praise and service. We are so thankful for you, our great partners, as your prayers, financial support and advocacy enable us to continue in this important ministry for his glory.

Tim Patrick

Like the rest of the country, the population of South Australia is growing, but many of our churches and ministries are not. By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, for every five gospel workers who conclude their ministry over the next 20 years, we need six new workers to replace them, simply to maintain the current level of Christian presence in our state. That is, in order to account for population growth, we need more people entering into Christian ministry than leaving just to maintain the status quo. If we actually want to get ahead of population growth—which is one thing that would help grow the impact of the gospel in our communities—we need more than six new gospel workers for every five who will finish up.

Already we are feeling the pinch. It is very common for South Australian churches and ministries to import their leaders from other states, or even from overseas. While there is nothing wrong with sharing and spreading our human resources around, if any one place is always a net importer of Christian workers, it can become a drain on ministry resources, rather than a place of ministry growth, expansion and overflow. Of course, this is not what we want to be.

Without doubt, we trust God for his church and for his Kingdom plans in our state. But we are still called to be active contributors with him. In human terms, what we most need is lots more passionate Christians to consider taking up some form of gospel service. It might be leading a Bible study group or a local ministry to a school, prison, or hospital. It might be volunteering to serve in a local church a day or two per week. It might even be full-time vocational gospel work such as planting or pastoring a church.

On Thursday 16 May from 6pm, Bible College SA is running one of our annual Open Nights. This night offers a chance for anyone who is considering serving in Christian ministry to come along and see how Bible College SA can help equip and prepare you. We will give an overview of our courses, different study options and college life, and there will be plenty of time to ask questions too.

If you have ever considered doing some formal Bible, theological or ministry studies, it would be great to see you at our Open Night. Alternatively, you might know of someone else in your church who you think could be a great future servant of the gospel. If so, please do invite them to come along. You can quickly register here so that we will know to expect you. And, we would love to ask you to please pray that God would raise up workers for his harvest and sheep for his shepherds from among us, so that the generations who follow will have many active servants of the gospel among them.

Ada Chan
Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born in Hong Kong and have grown up in Australia. My parents have raised me and my siblings to know and love Jesus for as long as I can remember. Before coming to college, I studied Arts, worked in the world of Swedish stationery and spent time as a trainee in student ministry at uni. Trinity Church Modbury is my home church and is where I'm currently serving as a student minister one day a week. An ideal day off for me would involve some combination of coffee, delicious food and a leisurely walk, all in the company of good friends!  

What are you currently studying?

I've just started a Master of Divinity. The 4 subjects I'm taking this semester are Greek, Hermeneutics, Old Testament & New Testament. 

What do you like most about studying at BCSA?

Everyday, we are rubbing shoulders with students, from all year levels, who are passionate about serving Jesus with their life and studying well to be equipped for ministry. People find out what's happening in classes and we encourage each other in what we're doing. We're also getting to know each other and are becoming invested in each other's lives. It makes for an incredibly supportive college community to study in. 

In what ministry do you hope to work when you finish at BCSA?
I hope and pray to be serving in a context that has opportunities to disciple and train women in the faith. 

What is one thing you are learning at the moment that is particularly insightful?

In our formation study groups, we are reading a book that has been challenging us to lift our eyes to be in awe of God's glorious holiness. While we fall so short of his standards, God ultimately longs for us to be holy and he gives us every motivation we need. 


Thursday 16 May

Open Night

Thursday 6 June

City to City Incubator - Day 4
Andrew Katay

Saturday 17 August

BCSA Partnership Dinner 2019


Please give thanks for –

• A good mid-semester break for staff and students, with good opportunities for rest, for catching up on work, and—most importantly—for celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus over Easter.

• Our great group of students being prepared for long-term gospel ministry. We have a fine bunch of women and men who we believe will be great contributors to Kingdom work in the future.

• The faithful supporters of the College who make our ministry possible. Without them, we would have had to have closed our doors years ago. But because of them, we are able to continue offering first-class theological education and ministry training.

Please pray for –

• A great second term in which students learn lots, grow in their faith and maturity and get well-prepared for future gospel service.

• Many prospective students to come along to our Open Night on May 16.

• Continued growth in our partnership community. That we might have more and more South Australian Christians investing in long-term, strategic gospel ministry through Bible College SA.

Please also remember the Brisbane School of Theology—one of our sister colleges—in your prayers. Pray that God would give them all they need to be preparing the next generations of gospel workers for Brisbane, Queensland and beyond.

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