In early 1997, I took a couple of courses provided by my church. One was a course in Theology, taught in a classroom setting by a recent Bible College graduate. The other was a course in Missions; intended as a preparation for short-term missions work, taught by a missionary recently returned from Thailand.
In the autumn of 1997 I took advantage of a relationship established between my home church (WPA) and the Eastern Pentecostal Bible College (EPBC). WPA has become a distance learning centre for EPBC and students enrolled there are considered to be students of EPBC. I’ve finally been able to realize a long-time dream; I now attend Bible College, studying general first and second-year courses.
From January to May of 1998, as part of their training, a group of the WPTC students, were privileged to be involved in ministering to a small local congregation which was “between pastors”. WPTC provided three teams of four or five students who ministered on a rotating basis; each team returning every third week. We were encouraged to participate in whichever areas of ministry we were comfortable, and most got at an opportunity to teach Sunday School, to lead in worship, to provide an object lesson for the children, to give a personal testimony, or to preach. After a “tag-team” sermon, in which four of us shared the preaching duties, I was later able to bring two “solo” sermons on subjects of my own choosing. This was a tremendously stretching experience which taught me that I am probably not called to a pulpit ministry but which I enjoyed nonetheless. I’ll never forget the experience and I’ll probably always look back upon this five-month period as a major milestone in my Christian experience.
As of the autumn of 2000, my studies had become more focused. The program in which I was enrolled at EPBC, through their Distance Education system, provided me with a “Christian Ministry Certificate in Pastoral Care” and a good basic theological grounding.
In the spring of 2002 I graduated from Master’s College and Seminary (formerly Eastern Pentecostal Bible College) with a Christian Ministry Certificate (Highest Honours) in Pastoral Care.