On July 23, we officially launched our Centre for Asian Christianity, a new initiative that was developed as part of the BST 2016-2020 Strategic Plan.
The goal for our Centre is to deliver high-quality training programs that position BST as the Bible college of choice in Australia for Christians wanting to be trained to minister to Asian people. We will work collaboratively with Asian leaders to support, equip and train students to minister effectively to Asian communities – both locally and, of course, in Asia itself.
One of our graduates, Sean (pictured left), who is now an Assistant Pastor to a multicultural Asian community at Sherwood Methodist Church in their English services, is one of the reasons we are so passionate to equip people for contextual ministry and mission to Asian people.
Sean is South Korean, and his background and training made him a wonderful fit for the diverse congregation at Sherwood.
“I had to work hard to develop relationships,” Sean said.
“I felt like a missionary to other Asians. Our church (Chinese and English) services is made up of people from Malaysia, mainland China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and a few Caucasians. Though there are so many countries represented, I was surprised at the many points of similarity between my Korean background and the other Asian cultures.”
A few years ago, Sean would have never suspected he might find himself pastoring an Asian congregation – or any congregation, for that matter.
“My childhood dream was to be a movie director,” Sean shared. “I was in my first year of uni when I got saved, studying Film Theory and Film Production at Griffith University. For a number of years I wrestled with my passion to be a director, but I realised that the thing I loved most has always been the Bible, since the day I became a Christian – preaching and explaining God’s word to people. I had to let go of my film-making dream.
Sean completed his Master of Divinity at BST with the support of the Sherwood Methodist leadership.
“After I finished my first year of my Master of Divinity at BST, I was going to do part-time study because I didn’t have the money at that stage and I wasn’t a citizen. The Sherwood Methodist leadership offered to financially sponsor my studies and allow me to continue full-time, and help me with my living expenses until I could get my citizenship.”
Since taking on his studies at BST, Sean has found his new purpose in God’s plan for him.
“I get really excited when I see God’s word being digested by the people in the congregation. When I see their ears becoming opened to God’s word, through the preaching and the teaching, that’s when I know this is what God was, and is, calling me to do.”
In addition to our existing training program (we’ve been teaching students in Mandarin for more than 20 years), our prayer is that God will use BST’s Centre for Asian Christianity to equip and resource other Christians like Sean for contextual ministry and mission to Asian people.
To enable this program to thrive we will continue to rely on the generosity of supporters. With the help of our donors and friends, we can actively partner with key organisations, develop training programs to equip local and international students, send students on mission exposure to Asia (like our recent trip mission exposure trip to East Asia), and also offer subsidies to those who may be struggling financially.
We live in a big and exciting world. The growth and passion of the Asian church is incredible, but of course we know that God’s word is for all people, and so we will continue to train leaders and missionaries who can effectively take God’s word to every corner of the globe – starting right here in Brisbane.