Student Research

Postgraduate Studies

One of my greatest joys as a Professor of Missiology is to see my students excel academically as well as on the field and in the local church. Part of this is due to my results-oriented framework, but also because I am privileged to serve at a Seminary and see students grow and develop to their full potential. I have been at the Baptist Theological College now for 5 years full time and have served for a total of around 9 years as an adjunct lecturer, giving input from the sidelines. I enjoy the initial growth stages of undergraduate work but love to see my students excel in their Masters and doctoral degrees. However, one thing I have realized is that postgraduate work, although popularized today, and rightly so, is not for everyone!

10 Factors that influence your decision to do Postgraduate work:

 

  1. Firstly, count the cost of what this will mean practically and measure that against the return gained through honest work and reflection. Most students like the idea of doing postgraduate work, but never think of the hours of reading, days of wrestling through concepts and constructs to produce work that is independent, fair and critical- work that adds value to academia and the church.
  2. Be honest about your own motivation behind completing this degree as it’s an emotionally tolling journey that will test your motivation and the application of your knowledge gained.
  3. Be true to your abilities and stage of life- don’t sacrifice what’s central for what’s a nice-to-have.
  4. Commit to the long haul and know that what you do will take longer that what you think and require more from you in terms of commitment and resolve.
  5. Develop a pattern of reading and research with dedicated time to study with the buy-in of your employer, friends, and family.
  6. Involve a wide network of peers and professionals in the process and the final product.
  7.  Ensure that your provider has the proper accreditation so that the work you do can be applied internationally and you’re not limited in that respect.
  8. Select a supervisor based on what they can help you learn and discover that you don’t already know- even if you may not always agree with their perspective.
  9. Get buy-in from your family and friends, as their support is critical to the process ahead.
  10. Don’t waste your Supervisor’s time and ensure that what you deliver is quality and according to agreed-upon deadlines.

If you’re interested in pursuing a Masters or Ph.D. without coursework, email me at desandlara@gmail.com for details or visit the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa’s site. If you’re interested in a great Master of Arts program with coursework at one of the leading Evangelical Institutions international, check out the Billy Graham Centre for Evangelism at Wheaton College and apply for a Masters in Evangelism and Leadership or a Masters in Missional Church Movements. 

Any further tips and thoughts? DH

NEXT-GENERATION DEVELOPMENT

Matthew Karg has recently been appointed as our Next Generation Intern and will be working closely with Pastor Ezra Karrupan in Epic Kids and Tots, Schools ministry as well as out High School and Frontline Ministries. He graduated with a Bachelor of Theology in 2016 at the Baptist Theological College and has a passion for young people and a missional heart. I am looking forward to serving alongside Matt in 2017. I asked Matt to write an introduction to my message on Sunday as we’re starting up our 10-week series on Exodus 20, the 10 Commandments.  I cannot wait to preach this Sunday and see how God’s word changes lives. Read Matt’s Intro below and join us at Ridgecrest Family Church this Sunday at 09:30 am (www.ridgecrestchurch.org.za).

DO IT GOD’S WAY

Have you ever wondered where our legal system came from? The set of rules that dictates and influences every decision that we make? Have you ever sat down and wondered who thought up every law that most, if not all countries have in place in their countries today? Who makes the rules?

Before we continue I would like to share a story with you about a time that I decided to break the rules and had to face the consequences due to the choices that I made.

When I was in grade 9 I dated a girl, and as with most high school relationships, it lasted all of four weeks. Needless to say, she broke up with me and I was absolutely devastated and decided that I should resolve my devastation and memories by drowning them in alcohol. I organized for my friend to purchase the desired alcohol for me and went home to tell my mother that I would be spending the weekend at a friend’s house. My mother, in her wisdom, new that I was struggling and advised against me going to spend the weekend away, and in my stubbornness decided that I would ignore her. Two hours later while kneeling in front of a bucket with borderline alcohol poisoning I wish that I had listened to my mother, that small part of my life would have been a lot better for it. Instead of honoring God by honoring my mother I disregarded both her advice and certain rules that she had set in place both for my protection as well as for a better life for me in the long run.

Isn’t that so often how we live our lives, either in a sense of stubbornness to the rules or with a minimal understanding of the rules, their purpose and why they have been put in place?

Let’s be honest, sometimes we don’t like the rules, we don’t like to follow them because we feel that they sometimes act like restrictions more than anything else. And sometimes following rules religiously can be trying and tiring.

But what if I told you that the rules are there to give you freedom? What if I told you that the rules are there to better your lifestyle and are to your benefit?

Maybe we need a change of mind-set, a change of mind-set where we see Christianity not as a set of religious rules, but rather as a relationship with guidelines that lead us into living life God’s way. But how do we do that and what are some of these guidelines that lead us into a more godly lifestyle?

What separates Christianity from other religions is summed up, I feel, in the following section of a poem by Jefferson Bethke:

“Now back to the topic, one thing I think it vital to mention,

How Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums,

One is the work of God, one is a man-made invention,

One is the cure and one is the infection.

Because religion says do, Jesus says done.

Religion says slave, Jesus says son,

Religion puts you in shackles but Jesus sets you free.

Religion makes you blind but Jesus lets you see.”

 

Pastor Matt Karg, Next Generation Ministries, Ridgecrest Family Church

 

Justine Ubsdell is a final year student at the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and will be graduating with her Bachelor of Theology at the 2016 congregation of the Seminary. This research was submitted as part of one of her subjects and I thought this would be useful for you to consider seeing the topics of evangelism and social engagement are at the forefront of discussion on many fronts.

 

You can download her research project here:

justine-ubsdell-social-gospel-and-evangelism.