With great joy, Moore Theological College has seen full-time enrolments for the Bachelor of Divinity and Bachelor of Theology courses double this year. All up there are more than 95 enrolments for undergraduate students starting in 2021 – an answer to many prayers for more workers for the harvest.
“Each year we give thanks for the students that God sends to us, whether that number be small or great,” says the college’s acting academic dean, the Rev Dr Dan Wu. “But we do particularly rejoice with a large year like this because we are equipping more people to live and proclaim Christ in the world.”
There are a number of factors that have contributed to an increase in enrolments, such as the uncertainty of 2020 (which prompted many to reconsider their priorities) and the discourse around the need for more ministry workers. Ultimately, this is an answer to the prayers of many at the college and in the Diocese to see more people trained to serve Jesus.
“There have been a few suggestions given for the reasons for larger numbers, including the disruption to normal life that COVID-19 has brought,” Dr Wu says. “However, the number of enrolments had been trending slightly upwards in the lead-up to last year and we are hopeful that we will continue to see increasing numbers of people coming forward to be equipped for Christian ministry.”
A large intake like this comes with the happy problem of trying to fit everyone in the one lecture theatre while obeying social distancing requirements - an issue the college is delighted to have.
In 2020, 32 full-time undergraduates began their studies, and across the college there were 253 students studying the Bachelor of Divinity, Bachelor of Theology and Advanced Diploma. This year there are more than 30 extra students across the same disciplines.
Female student numbers are also on the rise. In 2021, women count for a third of the full-time enrolments and half of part time enrolments.
There are many things to pray for in light of the increased enrolments. “Give thanks for a great start to their college experience,” Dr Wu says. “Pray for energy and enthusiasm throughout the course of their study - a deepening engagement with and love for God through their time with us at Moore. And that they would serve Christ, and the people he places under their care, faithfully and fruitfully for their lives.”
Why I’m studying at Moore in 2021
Marc Safari - I always had an urgency to go into ministry. My parents were missionaries working among Middle Eastern people in India, and after migrating to Australia they continued this same work. I always had a taste of what gospel work was like.
I’ve spent the last two years in Parramatta looking after youth. I loved reaching out to the youth. They were so ready for the message. I didn’t want to come to college at all because I wanted to stay and do the simple work of sharing Jesus [but] with time and prayer, I saw that I needed [to study] for the long term.
I want to serve Jesus for the rest of my life; the timing was right and so I’m here. I’m building skills that I will use for the rest of my life... I wanted to [study] as soon as possible so that I could be sent out as soon as can be. I’m interested in church planting, or helping churches reach people who would never usually step into church.
Caleb Torrence - We moved from Moree to Sydney for college. We were encouraged to think and pray about studying by a few different people... who pointed out the need for church leaders in general in the Armidale Diocese and Sydney Diocese.
I had a conversation with one of the ministers from the Armidale Diocese, and three days later the Bishop of Armidale said I should consider vocational ministry. We took that as a “hint hint nudge nudge” from God!
We prayed about it and we felt this is where God was pointing us. The plan is to head back to Armidale Diocese at the end of college. We are open to wherever God leads us.
Kirsty Torrence - We had been praying about what would be next for work for Caleb, so [being encouraged to go to college] felt like a big answer to prayer. It was not what we were expecting the answer to be, but we felt like this was God answering us about what he wanted us to do next. We felt we needed to be obedient to what he was asking us to do.
These conversations were at the start of November last year, so it was a quick process of thinking and praying. I think the thing we have been learning is to not hold onto our plans too tightly. God has his own plans and they’re better and we want to obey him.
Ellie Williams Roldan - When I was 17 I heard the gospel at a camp. I was blown away that I had gone for 17 years without understanding that truth. I knew there were so many people who hadn’t been told Jesus loves them. I wanted to spend as much of my day sharing the hope of Jesus in whatever form that takes.
Through the past couple of years, through various griefs and challenges in my own life, I learned the best thing we can have is not the best circumstances but more of Jesus. He is the solid foundation that doesn’t change.
I always wanted to go into ministry but last year sped up my decision making. I worked as a managing consultant, and most of my job was helping companies understand what their customers need so they can sell them more things. While there’s a certain “funness” in solving problems, I was solving needs for this life. Everything I did had an expiration date whereas, when we share Jesus, we share the solution to the greatest need we all have – which is to know our creator.
A couple of people who I already knew were also thinking about this at the same time. We were to walk together in this very long journey of the joys and challenges of ministry. I know it’s important to have close Christian friends who can walk with you through that. That’s why I chose Moore College, because community is a big part of study.