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Practical Christian Ministry Training

I love Jesus, and I love thinking about culture. This semester at Trinity, I get to think with students about both.

Early this year, [Academic Dean] Grant Taylor reached out to ask if I’d be interested in teaching one of the College’s Christian Ministry subjects. These are units that sit alongside the academic course and help to form students in the practical aspects of ministry: how to preach, how to lead, how to disciple others and so forth. I jumped at the opportunity.

We have devised a new course called “Mission and Ministry in Secular Australia.” The premise of the course is that Australia in 2020 is a missionary context, and to reach it effectively, we need to think like missionaries. Missionaries ask questions such as: What is the culture here? What do people love? Fear? Worship? Long for? Trust in? What are the alternative gospels against which the gospel of Jesus will be heard and understood?

Each week we explore some aspect of Australian society and culture, we “meet” a conversation partner—someone who has thought deeply about the modern West as a missionary context. So far, we’ve learned from the great missionary, Lesslie Newbigin, the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, and the Australian cultural observer Mark Sayers. Still to come is exploring some of the dynamics of mission and ministry in the Australian suburbs, the inner cities, and in underprivileged areas. We’ll think about consumerism, gender identity, and individualism.

It’s been a thrill to work though the material with such an engaged and passionate group of students. I look forward to hearing what God does in and through them in the future.

Rory Shiner
Senior Pastor at Providence City Church

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