Student Again

Michael Bishop 07 Mar 2016 study  sunday blog 

This morning I am joining in worship with Christians in Stellenbosch (and most probably dusting off my high school Afrikaans…) This year Kym and I have both registered for further theological studies and while Kym's course is by thesis and through UKZN in Pietermaritzburg, mine involves more course work which will see me spending three weeks in the Cape during 2016 and 2017. As we have talked about this with family and friends, most people shake their heads and ask if we're crazy :) - “you're busy enough as it is, why would you want to study as well!”

That's a reasonable accusation, but there's another perspective: Martin Luther – the great 16th century reformer had a practice of spending several hours in prayer every day, except when he had very busy work days. On those days, he would get up extra early and pray for longer. He had learned that in busy times, prayer should not only not be neglected, it should be intensified. I think a similar principle applies to studying. Both Kym and I have already found that the extra reading we have been doing has stimulated and renewed us in our daily work here. Reading, like praying, should always be a significant part of a minister's (or any Christian's) routine and now the university is making sure that we don't let it slip :) As deadlines and exams loom, expect to see a big improvement in our prayer lives too!

The course I am registered for focuses on missional leadership and spiritual formation – working practically with congregations as we move from maintenance to mission and with individuals as we are shaped and formed by the Spirit of God. I'm excited at the prospect of being a student again, of the reading and thinking that will flow out of this experience, and the opportunities to try new things here at UMC. Are you all ready to be guinea pigs :) ?

I am sorry though to be missing out on the WA District meetings happening here this week and will be praying for our team of ladies, and looking out for photos on Facebook!


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