When I graduated from Spurgeon’s College I was 33, it was my second degree, I’d worked as a teacher and had four years experience in full time christian work. Through the Baptist structures I had been called to serve as pastor in a church and could look forward to being provided with a house, a salary and even a book allowance.
It was a treat (3 hours long!) to be invited to the Baptist Bible College Graduation at the weekend.There is a great love of ceremony and dressing up (one way in which I don’t naturally fit into the culture!). Tassles are ceremonially moved from one side of the mortar board to the other on being presented with the certificate. And there is a feast at the end, fitting as families and friends have often travelled for many hours to attend.
The B.Th graduates were students I first met nearly 4 years ago and it was wonderful to see the huge progress they had made. 4 years ago some could hardly put together a sentence in English and most had never sat down to read a whole book apart from the Bible. Now they graduate with a heart and competence to minister in the church.
However, what a contrast to my graduation! All are under 26, their degree is not recognised by the government and very few will have a salaried post to go to. Most of the boys will have to plant a church or build up a small fellowship if they are to be pastors and for the girls there are even less formal opportunities. The Baptist denomination does have some funds to help church planters but there certainly won’t be a book allowance! Amazingly though about 90% of graduates do continue in full time ministry. I wonder what the percentage was from my year at Spurgeons?!
Other news: We have our visas – great rejoicing! Jenny has started work on her dissertation. The monsoon should be ariving any day soon.