1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Redcliffe College
I am the ‘Research Fellow’ at Redcliffe College. This means I do teaching and research, mainly in the area of the Bible and mission. A big part of my role is encouraging colleagues and students to get their research known and used by the global Church.
2) Tell us a little about Redcliffe College
This year is Redcliffe’s 125th anniversary. In recent years we have made some big changes (e.g., moving away from a traditional residential model), while retaining a clear vision of what we believe we have been called to do. Today we are focused on equipping women and men for cross-cultural service through a number of taught MA programmes. You could describe them as vocational and professional development for people passionately engaged in God’s mission. Our main courses are MAs in Contemporary Missiology (with optional specialisms in Bible and Mission, Scripture Engagement, European Mission, and Justice, Advocacy and Reconciliation); Leadership in a Complex World; Member Care; and (through our partnership with Wycliffe Bible Translators) Field Linguistics; and Language Programme Development.
3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?
All of our courses are part-time, with an emphasis on combining intensive teaching blocks and supported learning by distance. The Linguistics and LPD programmes involve longer periods on-site: usually up to five months at a time. The Missiology, Leadership, and Member Care courses usually involve two three-week schools for the face-to-face class-time, although can involve a long-weekend mode as well.
We’ve been excited to launch a hub in Oceania this year, with a cohort of Member Care and Leadership students beginning their studies in January in Sydney. This coming January they will be back together for the next teaching block along with new students, this time in New Zealand.
4) How do Redcliffe’s students fund their studies, and do you take students from overseas?
Our students come from the UK and from around the globe! They tend to fund their studies through a range of sources, and often a combination of things like personal savings, ministry support, organisational sponsorship, fundraising and trusts, and so on. We also have some finance available that students can apply for that can contribute to the costs.
5) What type of ministry is Redcliffe intended to prepare students for?
I think our students reflects the diversity that is mission today. They are from all over, and are involved in mission in a multiplicity of ways. Because of the nature of the programmes they are often already in a role, and so the courses are helping them to continue and develop in that role. They may be involved in Church planting and evangelism, justice and advocacy work, media, literacy and education, student ministry, Bible translation, member care, Scripture Engagement, working with refugees and asylum seekers, and all kinds of leadership roles.
I absolutely love it when I see students wrestling with issues in their roles or contexts, and then passing on the fruit of their thinking in really applied ways.
8) What is distinctive about what Redcliffe offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?
I think our main distinctives are the type of programmes we offer and the way that people can access them. I really love the way the programmes combine deep learning with ministry reflection. The best thing I can do to illustrate this is to quote a recent graduate:
‘Doing a Masters in Member Care at Redcliffe has been vitally important in my ministry development. I appreciated the rigorous academic framework, and the friendly staff who were approachable and available. I am able to apply many aspects of the course to my day-to-day ministry, and it gave me the confidence to bring about changes in member care practices that I believe help ensure that members stay healthy, resilient and effective as they seek to be church in places where there is no church.’
9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities
As well as the on-site library in Gloucester we have been investing an increasing amount in electronic resources. Students spend a very small proportion of the duration of their programme physically on-site so it is essential that they have access to excellent online resources.
We subscribe to online journal collections and ebooks. We’ve also been delighted to work with Theology on the Web on the project to digitise out-of-copyright mission books.
One of our biggest investments has been to subscribe to Sage Research Methods [SRM], which is an amazing resource for students and staff. A great thing about SRM is that students can continue to access it after graduating as well.