This week we are “travelling” to Scotland to speak with Simon Marshall who is going to tell us about Tilsley College in Motherwell.
1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Tilsley College.
2) Tell us a little about Tilsley College.
Tilsley College was founded in 1975 as the training arm of Gospel Literature Outreach. We are a small college that takes up to 15 or so students for our one year CertHE course in Biblical Studies and Christian Ministry. Our second year diploma course is a church-based apprenticeship scheme with block weeks of teaching at the college spread throughout the academic year.
We run two ‘gap year’ options as well. One of these “First Serve” is run in conjunction with a mission organisation and involves a few weeks at the college followed by time spent in a church in the UK and a cross-cultural mission environment. We also offer a three month introduction to biblical studies along with a TEFL qualification which can then be used in teaching English abroad.
We also offer evening courses at the college and in other centres throughout the UK in what is called the Joshua Project. With our college-based courses and the evening classes, we have about 75 students in total.
3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?
4) How do Tilsley College students fund their studies?
Our students fund their studies themselves, perhaps raising some support from their home church and friends and family.
5) Does Tilsley College take students from overseas?
We regularly take students from the EU for our year-long courses. Non-EU students have taken our Gap Year options and can study some of the modules of the Certificate and Diploma courses as part of on-going personal and professional development. We are only accredited to access the 6-month maximum visitors’ study visa..
6) What type of ministry is Tilsley College intended to prepare students for?
Our training started as training specifically for work in mission, especially in church planting in Europe. We continue to have a strong mission orientation in our courses. The full-time training, though, is aimed at preparing people for serving God both in this country and abroad, whether full-time or part time. Our evening classes are aimed at training Christians unable to take time off work for studies to be more effective in their local fellowships, whether as leaders or not.
7) When students leave Tilsley College what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.
About 50% of our full course graduates have gone on to full-time Christian service both in the UK and abroad, working as pastors, church planters, youth workers or similar. Many others have gone into secular employment and use their training as lay leaders in their local church.
8) What is distinctive about what Tilsley College offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?
We stress the importance of community to theological training, and, being a small residential college, allows us to build a close family relationship with all our students. We also stress the importance of hands-on application of learning, so students have practical, church-based and mission-based ministry placements. Our origins within a mission organisation and our continued emphasis on mission includes a 10 day trip to spend time in a church planting situation in Europe where students gain firsthand experience of mission work, something which is then built upon in their four week field placement in the Spring.
9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.
10) Does Tilsley College offer a distance or on-line learning option. If yes, please tell us more about it.
At the moment, we have no on-line learning options but are planning on offering this in the near future. Our courses are put together in such a way that while full distance learning is not really possible, students can attend for block weeks of teaching on
Many thanks Simon