Stirling Theological College’s Catalyst program is designed to provide students with a learning environment that invites a deeper discovery of God’s heart for the world. It’s an opportunity to unearth a deep sense of personal purpose by investigating a range of issues and innovative responses.
The program includes local and international immersions, ongoing mentoring and discussions with change-makers from around the world.
Catalyst is designed with school-leavers in mind: those who want to establish a Biblical foundation prior to further study; those who are unsure of their career path; and those who want to take time to explore their gifts and passions.
This foundational program guides students on a journey, ensuring they get practical and tangible experiences across a range of settings designed to shape them as a person.
About the program, Co-Director Josh Bond said, “Several years ago we dreamt of creating a space where students could explore what it is they are passionate about and how they can play a part in creating hope and restoring justice. The beginning of the academic year always provides an opportunity to start afresh and engage with new possibilities. This year is no exception.”
In 2018, the Catalyst program, originally launched in Perth, has a new hub in Melbourne. Both Perth and Melbourne hubs have already shared an experience together in Thailand and will again overlap in central Australia in the middle of the year.
At the beginning of each semester, students spend the first weeks immersed in a different setting, either locally or overseas. The trips have been carefully and uniquely designed to be at the start of each semester so that topics covered
in other units are embedded in real life issues of injustice and community development work. It gives context to everything discussed and encourages students to become people committed to change.
“The trips are not ‘mission trips’ and we are not there to ‘solve’ problems or ‘build’ something new. We are simply there to do life with our local partners: to listen and learn; to share in the lives of people in the contexts and communities we find ourselves in. Our partners range from NGO’s, local churches, international agencies, businesses and government.”
Student Reflections Klong Toey, Bangkok
“The Thailand immersion trip has brought about significant shifts in my perspective on local mission and ministry, including ways that I, my church and the church in general could engage with those around us. Through loving people long-term, we can open doors for God to move through relationships in unexpected ways, and give people the time and space to get to know God as we journey beside them. This will continue to shape my exploration of local mission and ministry in the months to come.”
“I have started to imagine what it would look like if a few people from our church stepped into a high school space, others involved themselves in a local sporting club, others went to kindergartens, retirement homes and more people were intentional in their workplace. Suddenly, the church is present and alive in multiple spaces and connections are made with multiple people.”