Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Michelle Stewart. I live in Killyleagh with my husband Geoff, our dog (Sunny) and our 2 cats (Freddie and Mazda). Before studying at IBC, I was a medical receptionist in Saintfield Health Centre. In my spare time I enjoy sailing on Strangford Lough, going for walks on the beach with Sunny and drinking coffee. Until recently, I was a member of Raffrey Presbyterian Church, now, as I complete my final year of BTh at IBC, I am very pleased to report that I have been led into a position as a Community Outreach Worker in Trinity Presbyterian Church, Cloughey, where I will be worshipping. I am so grateful to the Lord for His leading and provision.
Have you enjoyed your time at IBC? What was the best bit?
The past three years just seem to have evaporated! It’s been a time of many emotions; laughs, tears, struggles and challenges. I have made many great friends and I know that these friendships will last beyond IBC. For me, the best bit of college has been the placement opportunities. These have involved cross cultural placements, evangelism weeks and an extended placement in second year. These were great opportunities to explore parts of ministry and church work that in other circumstances would not otherwise be available and accessible. Coming to IBC, I had an idea in my head of where I would like to go in the future however an outreach worker was the furthest thing from my mind! During my placement year in Orangefield Presbyterian Church, I was given an opportunity to work in an estate that seemed to be alienated from the church. I was terrified when I commenced this, but in the strength of the Lord and with much prayerful support, I was able to face the task. Not only did I find myself comfortable in the role, but I was enjoying it and getting thoroughly blessed by doing it. During my year of placement I was being prepared and equipped by God for what He had planned.
What was your favourite module and why?
The modules in IBC are wide and varied and it’s difficult to select my favourite, but I would say that the studies in the various sections of the New Testament have been the most informative and helpful. I have discovered a vast wealth in the Bible that I had never experienced before. I have gained such insight into approaching the Word of God, not just for teaching and leading others, but notably for my own personal devotions. The teaching that I have had the privilege to sit under over the last three years has helped me approach the Bible more constructively and coherently.
Why would you recommend IBC to somebody considering studying here?
If anyone was considering studying at IBC and felt that is where the Lord was leading, I would say, to quote a sports outfitter, ‘Just do it’. The teaching is varied and expertly delivered. Although a lot of studying and commitment is required, the benefits are rich and blessed. The lecturers are approachable and are always available for advice and guidance. IBC may be a smaller college but there is a real sense of family and community. We all look after each other, encourage each other, and most importantly pray for each other. I came to IBC as a mature student and have left as a more mature Christian who is equipped and ready for full service. To glorify Christ in all we do, we must have faith, trust and assurance in what we believe and hope for the future. Coming to IBC will help your confidence to grow so that you can confidently proclaim that ‘Jesus is Lord’ and that our sovereign God is always in control.
Tell us something that you’ve learned at IBC.
As I leave college and reflect on all that has happened over the last three years, I have learned much. However, the most valuable lesson I’ve learned has been to fully rely on God. The essay titles, the Greek verbs, the studying, the preparation and the delivery of the short talks have all been intimidating and sometimes seemed like an Everest to conquer, but when you hand it all over to God for clarification and guidance, He will get you through. All of us have a human view of God and we tend to limit Him in all we do but we should never put God in a box. As I face the future, I find comfort and assurance that in Christ alone my hope is found.