Friday, 5 December 2008

Increasing quality of first-timers to NTE / SPRTE

I'm sure I'm not imagining it - the quality of students attending National Training Event ("NTE") is increasing every year.
A quick bit of background. NTE (SPRTE this year) is a five-year course, structured as follows:
  • Year 1: basic tools to understand a passage of the Bible ("exegesis");
  • Year 2: reading the Bible as a whole book ("Biblical Theology");
  • Year 3: understanding the great themes of the Bible ("Systematic Theology");
  • Year 4: thinking about how to apply the whole teaching of the Bible to specific life situations ("Pastoral Theology and Ethics");
  • Year 5: putting together a teaching program ("putting together a teaching program").
I led a group of first-timers, learning exegesis. They came from Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. The Aussies already had a lot of background knowledge, and were already familiar with what we were doing. We had to slow them down and make them think about the steps they were taking, force themselves to be self-critical - they just wanted to charge ahead. The people from Vanuatu and PNG struggled a bit; but this was because we were doing things in English. When I did a bit of personal work with them, they cottoned on to the ideas really quickly.
I did strand 1 at KYLC (now Next Gen) in 1996. I'm sure I didn't know as much as these guys. I got a couple of theologically dense questions from my first-years that would've floored me if not for my four years at Moore. I asked a couple of the uni ministry people during the conference; they agreed that the standard's increasing every year.
Why? Probably just 'coz there's more & more quality Bible study on campuses all round Australia, the South Pacific, and, I hope, the world. We're on a corkscrew upwards: good ministry begets good students who do more good ministry. The only cost: scary questions at NTE.
I say: praise God, and bring it on!

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