Field Trip to Headspace!

A couple of weeks ago Aaron’s Youth Work class visited Headspace in Narre Warren. They spoke with Anne and Mark about their experience working with young people facing mental health issues.


Headspace is an innovative youth mental health service that brings partner organisations together from across communities to work with young people and their families who are experiencing early onset and continuing mental health concerns.

God and Personal Vocation

A beautifully written and insightful excerpt from current Bachelor of Arts student, Alissa Piner from her recent capstone class Integration of Vocation and Faith.


The interrelationship between the call of God and my personal vocation:

“The call of God refashions the eyeglass through which I regard the function and utility of human work. Contemplating my personal vocation in light of the general call to participate in the body of Christ (1 Cor 1:27), to make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19) and to love both God and my neighbour (Mt 22:37-39) reframes the implication and objective of my work. Indeed as a consequence of the interrelationship between faith and vocation my work is completed with the anticipation and gladness that the fruit of my employments belong to an intention greater than my own. The call of God reimagines human work as a means to worship God, edify the neighbour and participate in the re-creation of culture, therefore my faith offers context to my work as a service performed on behalf of my neighbour and as an image-bearer of the dignity and creativity of Christ. Furthermore, the call to establish the Kingdom of God heartens me to complete my vocation in the expectation of heaven; thus I endeavour to recondition the context in which I work with the meaningful hope of heaven. In whatever form I determine to implement my God-given abilities and God-given personality the call of God ensures that it is for God, for others and for the expansion of the Kingdom that I work and create.”
– Alissa Piner

A Fruitful Life

Recently, journalist Mark Colvin died. I, like many thousands of Australians had listened to him on PM for as long as I could remember, but I knew very little about him as a person. In the days following his death I read and listened to the stories told by his fellow ABC reporters and other friends of a man of outstanding intellect with immense breadth and journalistic expertise. But this was not the most prominent way in which he was remembered. Instead, almost every account highlighted Mark’s kindness, generosity, concern and care towards all those he encountered. While they admired his intellect, their lives had been profoundly touched by his acts of kindness and grace and it was this that would be an enduring legacy.

Mark Colvin was not a Christian (that I am aware) but his life challenges our current Christian conceptions of a fruitful/successful life. In examining my own concepts and in my interactions with other Christians I am aware that we have drifted from the biblical basis of assessing our lives. We have imbibed, as can be expected, a large dose of Western cultural thinking where success is equated with visible, tangible, laudable achievements that will result in a happy life.

Grown your church? – tick. Invited to speak at conferences? – tick. Paid your mortgage off? – tick. Raised your social media profile? – tick. Networked nationally and internationally? – tick. Constantly travelling? – tick. Proudly “too busy”? – tick. Available only via your PA? – tick. Written a best-seller telling others how to be like you? – tick. The list is endless.

There is nothing wrong with any of these achievements but, for the Christian, they are ultimately not the hallmarks of a fruitful or successful life. Jesus did not tell Peter that he would be a great apostle but rather that he would die as a witness to the gospel. Jesus did not promise he would reward those who were meeting the cultural criteria of success, rather he exhorted his followers to lead lives of courage, kindness and faithfulness. Jesus did not call all to prominence but he did call all to fruitfulness.

Too often I meet Christian leaders who are exhausted from trying to be seen as successful in the eyes of their Christian peers. They are unhappy, driven, over-busy, worried, disconnected, anxious and unhealthy. At the same time, they are telling others how to live a God-pleasing life, how to keep a work-life balance, how to be counter-cultural witnesses to their neighbours.

I read recently

“Surveys show that most young adults believe that obtaining wealth and fame are keys to a happy life. But a long-running study out of Harvard suggests that one of the most important predictors of whether you age well and live a long and happy life is not the amount of money you amass or notoriety you receive. A much more important barometer of long term health and well-being is the strength of your relationships with family, friends and spouses.[1] “

In 200 years no one will know my name except perhaps a descendant who is an amateur genealogist. No one will know or care if I was a “success” in eyes of my peers. There will be no statues or public holidays dedicated to me. But perhaps, like Mark Colvin, when I die there will be people ready to tell stories of my kindness, courage and faithfulness. It may only be my children and grandchildren telling those stories but that will be the marks of a fruitful life in service to my Jesus.

[1] ps://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/23/the-secrets-to-a-happy-life-from-a-harvard-study/?_r=1

Dr Cheryl McCallum
Principal of Eastern College Australia

Public Lecture: Evert-Jan Ouweneel

Eastern College Australia was joined by Dutch Philosopher, Evert-Jan Ouweneel for a Public Lecture on 2 May, 2017.

The world is currently hit by a “perfect storm”, causing anxiety especially in the West — As our world is globalising, more and more threats and risks also have a global nature: hackers and terrorists don’t care about borders, nor does climate change, a pandemic or nuclear disaster. All of these issues can only be tackled through international cooperation.

Yet, at the moment, we see quite the opposite, especially in the West: populist nationalism calling for ‘self-protection’, as if the issues are only national a airs. Coming from a time of unprecedented wealth and security, it is painful for many Westerners to accept that 1) we do not politically or economically control the world anymore, and 2) some risks won’t go away. Time for Western societies to invest in resilience and global citizenship.

EXPLORE 7 PROPHETIC RESPONSES TO WHAT IS HAPPENING

Watch the Public Lecture here, or download the video or audio from the lecture: http://bit.ly/2qluIZc

About Evert-jan Ouweneel:
Since 2009 he has served as Senior Advisor Public Engagement on Faith & Development within the fundraising offices of World Vision. His current role is to inform people in secular societies about the need for “faith literacy” (understanding people of other faiths) and the importance of collaborating with religious leaders when building towards a more peaceful and prosperous world. Evert studied Sociology, Psychology and graduated in Philosophy at the Free University in Amsterdam. He has written over 50 articles in Dutch and some English articles on a variety of Christian and secular topics. He is an appreciated speaker in the Netherlands, known for his seminars on major issues like world history, world religions and world trends. He also speaks regularly in churches and Christian organisations and at Christian events.

Student Life: Kylie Inglis

“Initially I chose to study at Eastern because of its reputation to produce students who not only studied the word but actually lived it. I continued to study at Eastern because I valued their particular method of teaching, one which primarily equipped students to think and discern by presenting the spectrum of theology within the Body, rather than prescribing a particular denominational stream. This method of teaching disciplined a return to Scripture through the guidance of the Holy Spirit as I wrestled with theological ideas. Furthermore, I am thankful that Eastern has equipped me to discern theology through humility and the fruit of the Spirit.  

Highlights of my time at Eastern were often found in classes that sought to practically engage spiritual gifts. This application meant that theology was never just a dry form of study, but always rightly partnered with an experimental life – without dichotomy.

I personally loved the college life at Eastern. It is a community that values intimacy, discussion and practicality. Both students and lecturers were friendly and easy to get to know. Lecturers always took the time to assist me in my studies. I leave knowing them not just as great teachers, but also friends.

I have just accepted a role with Youth for Christ as the Discipleship Coordinator and Regional Team Leader for the Northern Suburbs. I am also currently completing my Masters in Practical Theology and hope to go on to do a Doctorate. My future plans include starting a Discipleship Training School, where I plan to teach theology and empower and equip the saints and leaders, to make disciples and live out the Great Commission in Spirit-led power, integrity and humility. ”

– Kylie Inglis

DISCOVER MORE:
School of Theology: http://bit.ly/2980VfG
Bachelor of Theology: http://bit.ly/2hSZx4I

Eastern Class of 2016

On the 17 March 2017, we celebrated the Eastern College Australia Class of 2016 Graduation Day!

89 graduates (73 Higher Education, 16 VET) were honoured.

It was a great afternoon and evening reflecting on the past and looking forward to the future. The ceremony was enjoyed by family and friends with talks from Principal Cheryl McCallum, alumni Dr Kirk Franklin and graduating student Chris MacCleod.

Dr. Kirk Franklin, Executive Director of the Wycliffe Global Alliance, and a graduate of the college, was the guest speaker and spoke on Creating Third Spaces in a Post-Truth World.

Four Master of Transformational Development graduates were recognized at celebration held in Kuala Lumpur two weeks after the Ceremony.

Congratulations, Class of 2016!

Rethinking the World and Missions: Davya Khanal

“My choice in joining the Master of Transformational Development (MTD) programme at Eastern College has been one of the best moments of my life. I was praying and exploring for the Christian universities which could help me learn theology that is not only limited to dogmas but has a wider reach to embrace the issues the world is facing today. And, I must take pride in saying that Eastern is one such Christian institution which has dared to go extra mile in search of an authentic biblical theology that reflect the holistic mission of church in the world.

I count myself fortunate to have the opportunity to spend the last three wonderful years as Eastern student. Though my journey with the MTD was short, and it has come to an end today, the lessons learned from it are something that will last the rest of my life. There are so many things I remember learning from the MTD programme which I am happy to tell you. But, for the sake of time, I would recall only a few of them here. The biggest lesson I learned – and I am probably speaking for a lot of Eastern students – is that we learn to unlearn and relearn in life. There were so many things that had been the way of life for us as Christians. We were not just comfortable, but probably very convinced that the church was something ‘separated out’ from the world and ‘anointed’ to proclaim the soul saving grace to the rest. We used to believe our theologies were the most correct, the church we did was the best accorded and the ministry call we had needed the world’s attention because to these we had our absolute commitment and accordingly put everything to make them look real, authentic and appalling, which at times, regretfully, did harm us and the world than good. But we continued to be what we used to be, seeking our own gain in expenses of others. And, probably we lost sight of our common sense and became entrenched in the super sense. I recall a satire long time back I heard that says, “Things go wrong when Christians forget their common sense and start to operate in the super sense.”

There are countless lessons and experiences I came across during my time with the MTD that kind of brought many turns and twists in my understanding of theology and mission. First, the subjects taught in the MDT programme helped me realize the dangers of operating in the super sense as it often tends to project you at the center of everything. They enabled me to come to hold onto and love my common sense which says, “God is in the center and I am just one of his instruments in his restorative mission”. The topics in each semester confronted me in way never before and helped me shape my missional perspectives. I was challenged to rethink the way I define the world and mission. I was reminded that the world we so dearly seek to save is in difficult situation not because it was unable to evolve itself, as Darwin would argue, but because we failed in our God ordained responsibility to care for them.

 I am sure a lot of my colleagues will echo my MTD learnings. MTD is such a platform which encourages us to go extra mile, seek more from God and from life so that we become what God intends us to be. It points you to a direction where there are people needed to be rescued, wrongs needed to be right and relations needed to be restored. MTD taught and helped us to lose some our own identities so that we are better prepared to recognize and respect the identity of others. I can now say it aloud, “I am prepared to go into the wilderness where I will discover that marvelous voice, calling, “I will be there before you” (Mk 16:7).

Davya Khanal
Masters of Transformational Development Graduate

Discover the course here: http://bit.ly/1Z2QrNV

Get to know Tom Edwards: Director of Research

Tell us a little about yourself…
– I am married to Laura, one cat.
– Director of Research at Eastern and work at Crossway Lifecare as a counsellor.
– BSc(Hons), MCounselling, PhD, Grad Cert Higher Ed.  Honours in developmental genetics (i.e. embryology of the central nervous system) and PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience looking at the biochemistry of memory.
– Director of Research at Eastern College Australia.

What’s your church background and involvement?
Anglican.  I have served terms on Parish Council.

What are your hobbies?
Fencing, exercising generally, bushwalking, landscape photography, woodwork, reading.

What are you passionate about in today’s Christian context?
Seeing people develop a personal relationship with God.

What is your hope for Eastern College Students?
To grow into whom God would have them be.

Tom Edwards is the Director of Research at Eastern College Australia and a great asset to the lecturers and educational life of the college.