Some choices are just too expensive.
We shouldn’t have to choose between leaders who love the Lord and leaders who love the lost.
We shouldn’t have to choose between leaders who know the Scriptures deeply and leaders who get what makes people tick.
We shouldn’t have to choose between leaders who are excellent communicators and leaders who are sacrificial servants.
We shouldn’t have to choose between leaders who have theological precision and leaders who show generous hospitality.
Churches need all of these things and more.
In preparing workers for the harvest field, Oak Hill, a theological college in north London founded in 1932, aims for all these things and more. It equips men and women to be servants grounded in the gospel and well-rounded with all the knowledge and skills that are required for a lifetime of ministry in a challenging and changing world.
How does Oak Hill do this?
Part time and full time programmes taught by expert and experienced teaching staff start by putting down a foundation of deep roots and tap into a broad range of skills and subjects. Central to that is the study of Scripture, and so they start by thinking about the nature of God’s word, and by beginning to explore Old and New Testaments. But there are other strands as well. A number of modules help come to a better knowledge of humanity and how people are shaped by their contexts and cultures. That kind of self-knowledge is vital to engage deeply with the Scriptures, and to relate humbly and generously towards others.
An overview of Christian doctrine and church history is also vital to learn from others down the centuries and see how the doctrines of Scripture have fuelled the worship and ministry of the church. First year Greek provides a foundation for biblical languages and tools are developed to interpret and engage a fast-changing and ever more diverse culture.
There is then an emphasis on integration, drawing different subjects and skills together to see how the deep and varied roots resource pastoral ministry, ethics and evangelism in fruitful ways. The work in biblical studies for example comes together in a module focussed on biblical theology, reflecting on how the Scriptures are a unified word and explores what it means to interpret individual parts in light of the whole canon.
Finally, there is an emphasis on application, developing the detail of what a life of worship and ministry looks like. Two modules in particular are central to that. A module on the doctrine of God is a capstone to our studies in Scripture and theology with a strong emphasis on how the doctrine of God forms us as worshippers. Then a module in the Pastoral Epistles which aims to engage and embrace the model of ministry in which theology, pastoral wisdom, and worship are woven together.
That is the core of the Oak Hill programmes. It is designed to be deep-rooted and unified theological training for whatever kind of gospel ministry people want to train for, whether that’s leading churches, preaching and teaching ministry, heading up youth and children’s ministries, ministry amongst women, or serving in cross-cultural mission. As one student said, Oak Hill emphasises “the gospel message being taught and being central even when it may well have lots of different aspects to it.”
Like an oak tree, the programmes are able to flex and bend, recognising that some students arrive with prior training, and that some will want to tailor their route for specific ministries. Programmes are undergraduate or postgraduate, part time or full time, ranging from one year to six years to suit different people. Individual Flexible Learning modules are available to study online as well this year, for increased flexibility.
But it is not just about academic information but personal transformation. As one student said “It’s not an academic exercise; it’s the Lord equipping us for ministry.” Students have opportunities to go on placements to churches and missions to put what they are learning into practice, so one informs the other. Currently, students come from a range of 12 church denominations and networks so learn from and learn with each other. Especially when students live in the college community, the vital combination of character, skills, and knowledge that will sustain a healthy pattern of ministry, is developed as they grow in their faith in Christ.
Oak Hill is convinced that this kind of deep-rooted and well-integrated training is equipping for life.
Could theological training be for you?
As a former Oak Hill College Principal said about it:
“Costly? Too costly not to.”
If you want to find out more about studying here or supporting the work visit our website at www.oakhill.ac.uk