Friday, February 10, 2012

serving who? the point of higher education

I’ve just been sitting with one of our post-graduate students. They are on the final stretch of their Master of Ministry thesis, in which they have reflected on the recent mission journey of their church. They’ve taken some brave moves, to sell a building, to relocate into a urban deprived area. In the process they have discovered the power of hospitality as mission.

The thesis is a reflection on that journey and it is a rich, provocative and helpful resource.

But it is a thesis. And very few people, apart from examiners, read a thesis.

The student also has two Guided Reading topics to complete. Guided Readings are like “empty boxes” in which an individual learning contract is designed. It can be a set of books to read, or an intensive to undertaken.

So, I made a creative suggestion. Why not prepare 6 Bible studies on the theme of hospitality as mission. Write 6,000 words not of essay, but of study resource. Weave in some Biblical texts, some key quotes from books you have read and insights from your journey. Take your thesis and turn it into a “so what? and how could my community do this?” And then take it to your wider denomination and ask them if they’d like it as a resource? Because other churches might want to learn from your story?

The student grinned. And left very excited. A thesis. Should it serve the student, helping them grow? Or should it serve the wider church?

Posted by steve at 03:05 PM


  1. great point Steve! I’m always on the look out for reading quality research like this. Are there places where we can access academic work like the one your student is writing?

    Comment by Fraser — February 12, 2012 @ 6:26 am

  2. Thanks fraser. We are working on an idea here, first edition out mid-year, in which research is written in a more accessible format


    Comment by steve — February 15, 2012 @ 9:50 am

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