Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Vision to Equip

Three Needs
Everyone needs to know and grow: People need to know Jesus; and as they come to know him, to grow in his service, by learning from the Bible.

If people are going to have the opportunity to know and grow…
Pastors, and other Christians, need to tell and feed: They need to tell the message of Jesus, and feed those who have come to know him, with clear, relevant Bible-teaching.

If pastors and other Christians are going to tell and feed…
Someone needs to train them. Our part of the world is especially in need of the continued development of world-class Christ-centred theological education.

As high quality theological training is developed here,
more pastors and Christian leaders will be equipped to tell and feed,
in order that people throughout Australia and nearby Asia will have the opportunity to know and grow in the service of the Lord Jesus.

“The household of God urgently needs faithful stewards who will dispense to it systematically the whole Word of God.”

John Stott

The Vision
Matthew and Rebecca Malcolm have a vision to see these needs met, by being included in the “someone” who trains pastors and other Christian leaders. An opportunity has arisen for them to pursue this vision by travelling to Nottingham, England, in September 2007, where Matt will be further equipped to be this sort of trainer.
What we’ve loved about being involved in local church and university ministries is seeing people grow in the knowledge of Jesus. That love hasn’t changed! What we are really hoping is that going to Nottingham will enable Matt to better serve and train those at the coalface of making Jesus known. In this way, our prayer is that even more people will grow in the
knowledge and love of Jesus in the years to come.”
Bec Malcolm

Why Nottingham?
The opportunity that has arisen at this time is quite unique: Professor Anthony Thiselton, who is a world-renowned scholar in Matt’s field of interest (New Testament, and in particular, 1 Corinthians), invited Matthew to apply to the University of Nottingham, to be one of the few postgraduate students under his supervision. Matthew applied, and has been unconditionally offered a place, after Professor Thiselton carefully considered his undergraduate marks, linguistic skills, and competence in interpreting and commenting on parts of the New Testament. It is hard to express just how exceptional an opportunity this is!

Matthew would be initially studying a two-year Master of Philosophy in Theology. In its offer of a place, The University of Nottingham has said, “Subject to satisfactory progress, your registration will be transferred to Ph.D.”

The University of Nottingham consistently rates among the top universities of the United Kingdom, and was recently awarded UK University of the Year by the judges of the prestigious Times Higher Awards 2006.
“The very best commentary on the Greek text of 1 Corinthians is by Anthony C. Thiselton. The work is very impressive.... Thiselton has outdone himself. Every section is well written, accessible….and penetrating.”
Don Carson

Why the Malcolm Family?
Besides talking this all through with other people, there are academic, ministry, and family reasons that have brought the Malcolms to this point, as they have prayerfully sought God’s guidance.

Academically, Matt did very well in his Bachelor of Theology, gaining first class honours. He was awarded the Felix Arnott Prize, which is given to the B.Th student within the Australian College of Theology who graduates with the highest marks. Since graduating, Matt has been given opportunities to lecture to B.Th students at Trinity Theological College on 1 Corinthians and 1 Peter, using the Greek text. Matt has also taught a number of “Trinity at Night” evening units, including “The Bible Overview” – a training course of which he is a co-author.

In terms of ministry experience, Matthew has been working in a number of Christian ministries since 1998. These have included serving as:
• Staffworker at Curtin and Murdoch universities with the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students (a position in which Bec later served)
• Youth Ministry Coordinator at Darlington United Church
• Associate Pastor at Curtin Community Church
• Ministries Coordinator at Bedford Community Church
He has also been a guest speaker at a number of churches and Christian conferences.

With regard to family considerations, 2007 is a good time to be undertaking overseas study like this. Given their very young age, the interruptions to the children’s education and social environment will be minimal. Likewise, Matt and Bec don’t currently have significant responsibilities for the care of aging parents. Setting aside this period for full-time study will allow Matthew to focus well and move swiftly towards the goal of “training the trainers.”
“It’s clear that God has gifted Matt as a student, a preacher, and a teacher. It’s also clear
that he is intent upon using those gifts for the glory of the Lord Jesus, not that of himself! His acceptance at Nottingham is a great opportunity for him to enhance his gifts—and to increase the impact that his ministry will have on his return to Perth. I will be supporting this appeal. I hope you will too.”
Allan Chapple, Head of New Testament, Trinity Theological College

Your Partnership
To live and study in Nottingham, it will cost more money per year than the Malcolms have ever had as a combined family income: the budget (based on estimations by the University and local contacts) is 30,000 Pounds ($75,000 AUD) per year, of which a third is tuition fees, a third is discounted accommodation, and a third is living expenses. This does not include set-up costs or airfares. In order to gain a visa for travel to the UK, Matt and Bec will need to demonstrate that they have a substantial amount of this money already in the bank by June.

There are a number of things the Malcolms are doing to work towards covering this cost:
• Matthew is applying for several competitive scholarships, for which Professor Thiselton has agreed to write him references. The results of these scholarships, which would cover part of the cost, will become known around May 2007
• Bec and Matt are both pursuing hospitality training while still in Australia, in the hope that part time work might be feasible in the UK (Matt would need special permission)
• The Malcolms will be selling a number of assets, with the particular aim of covering set-up costs
• They are speaking to their bank and financial advisors to try to arrange personal loans
• They have the keen help and support of their families in this venture

However, the Malcolms cannot do this on their own. They would value your partnership to help bring this vision to fruition. They will need emotional, prayerful, and financial support.
Can you help with this? Will you be a part of this vision?


Ian Malcolm said...

Hi Matthew and Bec,
Good to see you are up and running. Hope the much needed support will flow. By the way, in order to communicate with you I had to create my own blogspot under the name iantrack.

mattnbec said...

Thanks... it should now allow anyone to leave comments, regardless of whether or not they have their own blog - I've changed the settings