My first year of Chaplaincy at Moore

This year I started a new part time job as a chaplain at Moore College. It’s one of those jobs that seems to always require a clarifying conversation when you’ve answered the question: “So what do you do?” After all, why would a college that is training people for full time ministry need chaplains? Aren’t these all committed Christians who ought to be looking out for each other? Another friend had assumed I was the only chaplain, and when she discovered I was one of 13 she was astonished! Particularly when I went on to describe how we work alongside an even larger faculty group who are also committed to the pastoral care of the Moore College students.

So why is Moore employing all these people?

Why is there such an emphasis on these pastoral and mentor-type relationships within their program? I think the answer lies at the heart of one of Moore’s distinctives on the modern theological education field and is one of the things I love most dearly about it. The emphasis comes because Moore College is committed to an approach to theological education that includes not only a deep and broad immersion in the study of the Bible, but also has a very strong attention to the development of Christian character. When I accepted the position, a letter from Principal Mark Thompson expressed it beautifully:

“We are convinced that theological learning and pastoral care belong together and inform each other, especially since preparation for ministry involves more than the transfer of information but also the shaping of character, the deepening of convictions and the development of the gifts and abilities necessary”

If there is one thing that has really been emphasised for me over the last Covid affected years, it’s that we as people need each other. We were created for community, and it’s in community that we as Christians best persevere in our growth in godliness. It’s why the writer to the Hebrews entreated the saints to not give up meeting with one another. They needed each other to be spurred on toward love and good deeds and to encourage each other in these last days. And it’s just not as good online, is it? The second half of this year my meetings with students mostly moved to over a computer screen or down a phone line. And while I’m thankful for the technology that has allowed some form of connection, it’s no where near the normal college experience.

A normal week for a Moore College student involves dozens and dozens of interactions with other Christians. From the lecture room and it’s robust theological discussions, to mulling it all over with a friend at morning tea. From the lively banter of a lunchroom table, to the quiet moment to share and pray with their chaplain or prayer triplet. They toss ministry and mission ideas around in their chaplaincy group and then toss a footy around in the tip competition that afternoon. I’ve watched them take time to deeply reflect on their past experiences in the Intentional Ministry Reflection groups and then prepare a sermon to preach to a small group to receive feedback.  All of this intensive, mostly residential and in person experience is working to grow them in their ability to see God glorified as they are shaped to live lives that are worthy of the gospel and to proclaim Jesus Christ to the church and the lost. How thankful I am that it looks like this will return, God willing, in 2022!

Despite it’s challenges, this first year as a chaplain at Moore College has been so deeply encouraging for me. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers indeed are few. However, every day I get to see the prayer of so many answered. Faithful people are asking that the Lord of the harvest send out workers into his harvest field, and he is! Please pray that he will continue to raise up godly men and women to be trained to enter full time ministry and take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Find out more about Community Life at Moore College