We have no desire to go ahead except by God’s leading

Rev Dr Richard Gibson

Rev Dr Richard Gibson, BST Principal

This year marks 69 years since the college made 1 Cross Street, Toowong its official campus.

In the wake of the second World War, Christians in Brisbane were gathering and prayerfully considering how they could meet the needs of the country. They felt a strong conviction to train up more young people to share the gospel. And so the Queensland Bible Institute Council was formed in 1944. This group of Christians had a desire to expand what Rev Gwilym Morgans started in 1943 and to steer the college to establishing a more permanent home for teaching and accommodating students.

On 5th July 1947, friends and supporters of BST gathered to celebrate the official opening of the Toowong campus. The chairman of the QBI council Mr Nelson said this in his opening speech:

“The possibilities of this Institution under the leading and guidance of God are far reaching. While we have no desire to go ahead except by God’s leading, we feel that here in Queensland we have facilities which, when developed, will be of great value, especially to those who are looking to spheres of service on the mission fields. It is our firm belief that God is leading us, and that we should be prepared to take advantage of every leading of the Holy Spirit, and plan ahead along the lines that are opening up to us.”

BST Toowong campus opening (formerly Queensland Bible Institute), 5th July 1947

BST Toowong campus opening (formerly Queensland Bible Institute), 5th July 1947

As I hear these words echoing in my mind, I am encouraged and excited for what’s ahead. There were many men and women before me who committed themselves to prayer and generously helping to steer the college to where it is today, and it’s only through God’s leading and provision. In the past couple of years, I have been working with the BST Board to develop a strategic plan, one that would see us strengthen engagement with the Christian community and affirm our commitment to God’s mission.

I am pleased to say that the 2016-2020 strategic plan has been finalised and will be released to the public shortly. Our aim is to be the leading provider of formative, inter-denominational, theological education, in English and Mandarin, to Queensland and northern New South Wales, and a leading provider in Asia. This includes a commitment to strengthening partnerships with mission organisations, expanding our Chinese program, and establishing a centre for excellence with a focus on Asian Christianity.

I feel privileged to be here almost 70 years since the Toowong campus officially opened, now looking ahead to further develop our facilities and enhancing our learning program with a more integrated mission focus. What Mr Nelson said back in 1947 is at the core of our decision making process, “we have no desire to go ahead except by God’s leading.”

I’m so thankful for God’s provision through the generosity of our donors who in the last year helped us to:

  • install solar panels which has significantly reduced our electricity expenses;
  • build a kitchen in lower McConaghy House for the women’s accommodation;
  • refurbish the kitchen in upper McConaghy House for the men’s accommodation (the original kitchen was built in 1967); and
  • create a new mentoring space in lower Caulfeild House.
Property Manager

Property Manager

I caught up with Jonny Lush, our Property Manager, who has been instrumental in refurbing our facilities and project-managing the installation of our solar panels.

“The installation of solar panels on two of our buildings was an initiative that the board supported. I regularly check the performance of the panels and to date we have generated 38.79 megawatts of power, which is equivalent to removing 154 cars from the road or planting 654 trees, or more than 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide that we have not emitted,” Jonny said.

Jonny worked in the construction industry prior to coming to BST which means he takes a hands-on approach to renovating, ensuring that works are completed to a high standard.

“Renovating has its challenges, especially when you’re working with older buildings and juggling day-to-day maintenance issues onsite.”

Jonny lives on campus with his family and looks after all maintenance for the property including fixing leaking taps, renovating the accommodation facilities, maintaining the grounds, liaising with contractors, rearranging lecture rooms for events and also serves in the music ministry for chapel.

“What I love about my job is the reward that comes with knowing you are helping to renew the college.”

“It’s so satisfying to hear feedback from students who are excited about getting a new kitchen in their shared accommodation.”

These projects could not have been completed without the generosity of our friends and supporters. As we look to 2017 and beyond, we are committed to developing our facilities and improve the living and learning environment for those who have a desire to study with us.

Please pray for us as we move ahead with renewed vision for BST, strengthening our partnerships and continuing our commitment to God’s mission.

Donations of $2 or more to the BST Building Fund are tax-deductible. Consider supporting BST’s building renewal.