In this strange season of COVID-19, anxieties and tensions are high. There is nowhere on the globe that hasn’t been affected. And at this time, there is a need to speak the gospel of security in Christ, to a world searching for the certainty that only the Lord Jesus can bring.
My journey to studying Moore College’s Preliminary Theological Certificate (PTC) wasn’t in a crazy time like this. But I’m so glad I did it and am beyond excited to explain what I loved about it. I also want to encourage you to think about trying a unit like ‘Intro to the Bible’ for yourself.
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I moved to Albury in 2017, horrified about the prospect of leaving my Bible-teaching church in Sydney, and naively concerned that I’d never find a new church. I quickly settled into APC (Albury Presbyterian) and was relieved to be at home, growing alongside faithful followers. The church was running ‘Intro to the Bible’ (the first PTC subject), but I thought it seemed a bit intense, and surely, I was too busy for that kind of commitment.
In early 2018, church was running the course again, and so I tentatively signed up. My course notes arrived six days later. I inhaled them, and subsequently enrolled in the next 17 units.
I loved studying the PTC and want to de-bunk some of the initial barriers that were holding me back.
1. The PTC is a massive waste of time!
You already know I now think this is a lie. The PTC is an investment, from which I’ve seen fruitful growth in my own life and the lives of others who’ve done it. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be pushed in my understanding of how the Bible fits together. I also can see how the course helped me approach reading the Bible, share the gospel, better understand God’s grace, and serve in my local church.
2. The PTC is too academically challenging!
Wrong! The PTC is structured in a way that is very conducive to learning. Each unit has course notes, online materials, quizzes, practice exams and an online exam. The variety of learning materials helped strengthen my understanding of course content, and practice quiz questions helped identify gaps in understanding. I’d be lying if I told you the PTC was easy. There were moments when my Early Church History and Reformation History units had me close to tears. At times, I felt challenged way beyond my comfort zone, but the content was academically achievable and pushed me to think more critically about the Bible.
3. The PTC is just so darn expensive!
I want to highlight how financially viable the course is, in case that is a barrier. I was worried I might be adding thousands of dollars per unit to my already very hefty uni debt. But for $45 per unit, the course didn’t contribute more to my HECS debt, and provided me with invaluable education.
4. The PTC can’t train me for kids’ ministry!
I love kids’ ministry, and I’m thankful for all the great training recourses we have access to. When I started the PTC, I had no idea that it would also be able to transform my approach to teaching the Bible to little people. I’m in awe of how useful my Old Testament units were in clarifying my own understanding of how the Bible fits together, and to be able to communicate key truths to people of all ages.
5. The PTC is so geographically constraining!
Studying through the PTC was phenomenally flexible. I completed units while on placements in Tumut and Albury, visiting family in Canberra and Brisbane, and while living and working in Western Sydney. Time wise, I had six months to complete each unit, at my own pace, which fit in beautifully around my other commitments. Being able to study with online and printed materials, I could continue serving in my local church and workplace without committing to in-person, on-campus learning. The course structure is practical, helpful and accessible. The PTC reaches people regionally, rurally and internationally, better equipping followers of Christ to grow in their personal Bible reading, and be better equipped to serve in local ministries.
If you’ve still reading, congratulations. In conclusion, why not give the PTC a try, starting with ‘Intro to the Bible’?
It is a worthwhile, flexible investment that will grow you in your love and knowledge of God, and better equip you to serve in your local church.