From the very first Saturday I was overwhelmed by the friendliness of college staff, lecturers and students alike. Conversations over lunch and discussions during the day were fascinating; it has been illuminating to hear of other people’s church backgrounds and to share their hopes and aspirations for service. Over the three years the styles of the lectures has varied enormously from didactic to extremely practical. I have scribbled frantically as I struggled to keep up with Ruth Gouldbourne’s pace in Theology and fought my way noisily into a human timeline in Baptist Belief and Practice. I have spoken for a whole minute on dinosaurs in the preaching module and I think I will remember for my whole life the moment when I saw with sudden and incredible clarity a different way understanding the concept of heaven in one Ernest Lucas’ lectures on the New Testament.
This fresh understanding probably encapsulates what I have enjoyed most about PFS. I have read books I would never have opened; my mind has been stretched as I have encountered ideas that were quite outside my experience and I have been encouraged to express myself in my own way, using my own voice. In addition I have made friendships that I believe will last as we continue to encourage one another in our ministries.
Prepare for Service is a course that many take advantage of already but many more could do so. It is good to have our thinking challenged and it has been exciting to take stock of where the church now stands and how we can engage with modern culture. Opening the door to many of these subjects has been like a breath of fresh air – Prepare for Service is a jewel in the crown of Bristol Baptist College.