The first arrival at our conference in January had come all the way from Guernsey! Here’s some news of God’s Spirit at work on an island you may know only for its brown cows, sandy beaches and offshore finance sector.
With a population of around 60,000 people, Guernsey is home to Shiloh Church (www.shilohchurch.gg), a baptist church connected with Fresh Streams – and also a Kingdom Theology Hub, providing accredited theology courses – there are currently 30 students in Guernsey, part of a body of over 200 students across the UK benefitting from this innovative and high-impact courses.
“Without a doubt, the Kingdom Theology courses provided by Westminster Theological Centre [WTC] have been crucial in helping us to identify and release people into their God-given call, whether at church, at home or at work” said Phil Eyre, Shiloh’s church manager and lay pastor.
“We are seeing Kingdom growth in our church and across the island, often connected closely with the Hub”.
Shiloh, a church of about 230 people, do not yet have a team leader in place (although an appointment is expected in September). Yet this has not prevented the appointment of various team members to the staff team last Summer. “We took a step of faith and appointed a Children’s Ministry Leader, Minister in Training and Pastoral Care Coordinator. Each has or is working towards a WTC Kingdom Theology qualification” said Phil. “This has allowed us to make strides forward, seeing release in worship, mission, teaching and ministry”.
The courses are provided through a mix of residential teaching (two 4-day residentials) and local ‘Hubs’, with teaching in Hubs provided one evening per week via recordings and live ‘Skype’-type sessions. This allows the students to access teaching of high calibre from around the world.
Teaching is set in a framework of worship and prayer ministry; this is certainly not just an academic exercise. As well as church manager at Shiloh, Phil is also Guernsey’s Hub Director for Guernsey’s New Wine Training Centre Hub, into which WTC provides accredited theological training.
“We have seen students experience release in worship, healing, personal breakthrough and prophecy before the teaching sessions have started – a genuine mix of word and Spirit moving and working together.”
There are many stories of how God is moving in the students’ lives. One lady was set free from an eating disorder within weeks of joining the course, another healed of post-operative pain. One lady joined the course with severe trepidation about worship (“you’re all whacky” she said) yet has recently found herself compelled to paint during worship – with the paintings speaking profoundly to other students (and others who see them).
Students have been challenged to witness to family and work colleagues and been amazed at the response. “Every Hub night, the students have story after story to tell of how God is at work in their lives; healing, transforming and confronting others with the gospel through their witness,” said Phil.
The students are from all walks of life and a variety of ages, ranging from 20 to ‘well retired’ and also from a variety of churches of differing denominations.
Modules include Mission, Biblical Studies (Old and New Testaments), Doctrine, Spirituality in the Christian Tradition and Leadership & Ministry. All students are required to write and follow a Personal Development Plan, supported by faculty and the local Hub Director. “This is all about seeking more of God’s Kingdom here on Earth, pressing forward together in mission and ministry, irrespective of denominational differences. Addressing what it means to lead a business in a ‘kingdom’ way, to lead your home, work colleagues or church based ministries for His kingdom”.
It is clear that something good is happening; as well as releasing Shiloh’s lay team into ministry, students in the Guernsey Hub are involved in a wide range of mission and ministry including Street Life Pastors, Healing on the Streets, Caring for Ex Offenders, Messy Church, Business Connect, worship, preaching, CAP, Christian input in schools and mental health services to name a few.
“We are excited – and challenged – about a new wave of God’s blessing in our island in the near future. Release in worship and good theology training are a part of this” said Phil.
WTC has Hubs across the country and hopes to expand further. For more detail on the Kingdom Theology courses provided, see www.wtctheology.org.uk