Second Year Placement
Staff and students at the Irish Baptist College are convinced that theological education is a key tool in magnifying Christ, advancing the gospel and strengthening the church. In addition to being vocationally focused, the theological education offered at the College is academically rigorous. This experience of intellectually challenging study equips students with a fundamental toolkit of biblical knowledge, critical thinking, logical reasoning and proficient communication abilities. A classroom education, even a vocationally focused one, can only take a student so far. There is no substitute for real life experience. For this reason, placements are a central feature of the College’s Preparation for Ministry course.
In first year most students conduct an informal placement in their home church. In second year students then take a formal placement in another church, Association department or parachurch organisation. This permits the student to experience ministry in a context different from what they are used to. During the summer between second and third year students then engage in a cross cultural placement. These placements challenge and encourage students in a different way to the classroom studies. Both, however, complement each other.
Placement experience is crucial in preparing well for ministry. Josh Patterson indicates this in his answers to a few questions about his placement experience this year.
Tell us a little about yourself and where your placement is this year.
JP: My name is Josh Patterson, I'm 23 years old and I am just finishing my second year at College. I grew up mostly in England. Before coming to College I studied Agriculture and was working on a farm in North Yorkshire. My placement this year has been with Ballycraigy Congregational Church.
What have you been doing on placement?
JP: Placement has consisted of preaching once a month and leading a Sunday service every week. I'm also involved with the BB where I do the epilogues every week and I am part of the Youth Fellowship committee.
What have you learnt while on placement?
JP: The one thing that stands out is that it is vital that a pastor knows the people in his church well. This provides immense help for pastoral care and it also gives aid in thinking of application for sermons.
Is going on placement a helpful part of the Preparation for Ministry course? Why/why not?
JP: I've learnt so much on placement as the best way to learn is to just get stuck in. It's vital to the course! It does make second year unbelievably busy, but it is needed to prepare students for future ministry. The course would be incomplete without it.
Where are you going on your cross-cultural placement this summer?
JP: I'm doing a tent mission on the Isle of Lewis with the Faith Mission.