Please introduce yourself and your role at Oak Hill College
I’m the College Director at Oak Hill College and on the senior leadership team. I also teach in the areas of Culture, Religion and Public Theology
Tell us a little about Oak Hill
Oak Hill was founded in 1932 by Charles Baring Young to train those from less privileged backgrounds, and with very little financial backing, for evangelical ministry in the Church of England and other protestant denominations. Today we’re training men and women for a lifetime of gospel ministry, whether for pastoral leadership, cross-cultural ministry, youth and children’s ministry, evangelism, both within the Church of England and in independent churches, in the UK and overseas.
Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?
Our programmes are offered both full time and part time. And we’re also expanding our offering to include some Flexible Learning courses for those wanting to grow in their faith, reach and serve others more effectively whether at home, in their workplace, or at church.
How do Oak Hill’s students fund their studies, and do you take students from overseas?
Anglican ordinands are funded by the Church of England; our independent students are funded by a variety of means, whether their sending church, friends and family, trusts, government funding, savings etc. So many of our students have experienced the gracious generosity of our God in providing wonderfully for their needs.
What type of ministry is Oak Hill intended to prepare students for?
Most of our students will be seeking to go into full time paid Christian ministry; either Anglican or Independent. We are looking to provide rigorous training that will enable students to sustain a lifetime of ministry and to develop resilience. In giving them rigorous training in terms of depth, they are building on foundations, and at the same time developing an appetite to be lifelong learners. And most importantly we want them to become more like the Lord Jesus.
What is distinctive about what Oak Hill offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?
So we are distinctively conservative evangelical in terms of confession. We recognise the importance of high academic standards, depth and rigour, while applying everything to real ministry situations, hence our strap line “ministry for the real world”. We intentionally integrate the different theological disciplines so they are not taught in a compartmentalised way but rather inform each other, and we look at what that means formationally too. Our focus on pedagogy; not simply being Christian in what we teach, but Christian in how we teach, particularly within our unique living, learning and worshipping community. And we have being developing a graduate profile by looking at what ministry is and what ministry needs, starting with what the Bible has to say on this. So the graduate profile focuses on character, skills and theological wisdom and is enabling us to be more intentional with how our curriculum and the college experience helps our students to grow in these areas.
Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.
We have one of the finest theological libraries in the south-east – we’ve got historical material and a wide range of contemporary resources from a variety of different traditions to support the teaching and research of members of the college. It contains over 55,000 items in stock, including multimedia items on DVD. New stock is added to the library each month, to make sure the resources remain relevant to contemporary needs. We also subscribe to approximately 100 print journals with the majority of our subscriptions being electronic.