Final Year Reflection: Chris Banks

Monday, 20th March 2023
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Final Year Reflection

By Chris Banks 

Writing this reflection is very bittersweet. As I look back over my three years at the Irish Baptist College, I'm increasingly aware of what a wrench it will be to leave, but also how thankful I am for the way I have been equipped for future ministry. This is particularly heightened for me as in a couple of month's time I'll be taking up the role of pastor in Millisle Baptist Church. Having spent six months there on a student placement, my wife and I are really looking forward to becoming part of that local church family, where we experienced nothing but warm fellowship and friendship. Nevertheless, the role of a shepherd is a daunting one to take up, and that reality is now just around the corner! I want to use this space to reflect on how God has used my studies, the staff and my fellow students at IBC to shape and prepare me for the exciting but formidable task ahead.

My studies

The Preparation for Ministry course that I have taken is rigorous and wide-ranging in both its practical and academic elements. In fact, I resist separating those two elements as we are prone to do, because the two go hand in hand at IBC. In 'academic' modules, my mind was certainly stretched, but my tutors simultaneously and continually grounded their teaching in its pastoral significance. Practical elements such as sermon class and professional placement gave me an avenue to channel my studies towards what was always their intended end: ministering to God's people.

The staff

The staff at Irish Baptist College are all followers of Christ committed to his church. The background in pastoral ministry and/or church and missionary service that all staff members have is invaluable. More importantly, their present passion for serving Christ has been really formative for me, which comes out especially in their willingness to go the extra mile to help. On several occasions, an off the cuff question in class has been met with a detailed follow up response by email, and they always have an open door.

The students

When thinking about where to study for ministry, I did consider the possibility of distance courses. My own pastor wisely counselled me to choose to study in-person at the Irish Baptist College. He said the friends he made in college are still friends, but more than that, vital colleagues whom he regularly calls on for support and encouragement in ministry. He also said the fellowship experienced in class devotions, prayers and evangelism teams are simply a vital part of Christian character formation and preparation for ministry. He was absolutely right! Studying and serving alongside an incredible group of students has been another essential spoke on the wheel of my time at the Irish Baptist College, and I have no doubt it will help keep that wheel turning throughout whatever length of service the Lord has called me to.

    Blog Archive

Let’s Read Irish Baptist College Conference (Online) From Intern to Undergraduate (Emily Middleton) Let's Read: The Hole in our Holiness — The Reason for Redemption Baptists and Revival in the Long 18th Century Second Year Placements From Intern to Undergraduate (Josh Brown) Let's Read: The Hole in our Holiness — The What and Why of Holiness Final Year During A Pandemic 2nd Year Placement Experience Friends of the College 2021 Update The Art of Reading More Books Let's Read: The Hole in our Holiness — The Real Possibility of Holiness A Basic Easter Fact The Servant King Podcast Let's Read: The Hole in our Holiness — You Are Holy Third Year Reflection Gospel Guardians: Protecting the Purity of the Gospel for Future Generations Graduation 2021 Book Review: Succeeding at Seminary Let's Read: The Hole in Our Holiness — A Work in Progress Why the Irish Baptist College is Vital to the Health of the Association A Good News Story: The Ministry Partnership Scheme Why Study the Biblical Languages? Profit in Toil: A Short Message on A Level Results Day Let's Read: Small Preaching Recognition Service Report 2021 Sin Forgiven: Nourishment for Life and Joy for Living Let’s Read: Small Preaching—The Character of the Preacher Commencement Service Report Placement Friends of the College Update God Rejoices over His People: A Meditation on Zephaniah 3:17 Let’s Read: Small Preaching—Constructing the Sermon Evangelism Teams: Newcastle and Brannockstown Evangelism Teams: Stonepark and North Belfast Christian Fellowship First Year Reflections (Reuben and Andrew) Some New Books Let’s Read: Small Preaching—The Craft of Preaching Let's Read: Small Preaching—What is God Saying? A Christmas Reflection on John 1 - ‘The coming of the light’ Christmas Reflection on John 1 - ‘Life, Light & Glory’
Time to read Genesis...again Friends of the College - January 2020 Friends of the College - January 2020 Finances Tribute to Marion Craig The Resilient Pastor: Surviving & Thriving in Ministry Just a Blow-in? What is new on the shelves at IBC? Friends of the College - February 2020 Four Reasons to Study Theology Academically From Spain to Moira Testimonial Financial Update Friends of the College – March 2020 Irish Baptist Historical Society: The Mayflower Thomas Patient: the Father of the Irish Baptist Church Testimonials The Pastors’ Conference: An Encouraging Privilege Testimonials (part-time studies) In the worst of times: COVID-19 and the Book of Ruth Friends of the College - April 2020 The Long Wait: Victory Delayed Testimonials - Preparation for Ministry and Evening Classes The Leadership Podcast Testimonials - Ladies Study Fellowship The Leadership Podcast (part 2) Friends of the College - May 2020 Reflections from the Student Chairman Why do we teach the Old Testament? Reflections on first year at IBC Friends of the College - June 2020 Why do we teach Romans? IBC Placement Is Church History a Thing of the Past? Friends of the College - July 2020 Friends of the College – August 2020 Friends of the College September 2020 Recognition and Graduation Service Introducing the Irish Baptist College’s New Logo Commencement Service Friends of the College - October 2020 Filled with the Spirit: Soundings in Luke’s Theology of the Holy Spirit The Famous Five: The Abiding Relevance of the Solas of the Reformation Friends of the College - November 2020 The Importance of Theological Training in Fulfilling the Great Commission First Year Reflections — Tim Houston Singing: The Place of Theology in Corporate Worship New Library Books Friends of the College – Unite to Pray – December Christmas Reflections
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