All posts by Student of Eastern College Australia

Student Life: Christopher MacLeod

“I began studying at Eastern out of a desire to freely explore theology, the Bible and all things Christian. This has been fundamental for my spiritual formation, as the college has been an environment that has empowered me to deeply consider and analyse theology, and by doing so, helped me to communicate the God-given passions of my heart to Christians around me.

As an educational facility, Eastern has equipped me to lead, teach and preach to great effect. I have been exposed to a variety of theological perspectives and learnt to respectfully and compassionately co-exist, challenge, and be challenged, by these perspectives.

As a place of spiritual formation, Eastern has fostered a humble culture that is brilliantly reflective. Students are always encouraged to turn their penetrative analysis inward, in order to ensure that rhetoric and action remain unified. The culture at Eastern reminds its students that theological exercise should be, at its core, simply an exercise in loving God.

As I write that previous statement, I remember lecturers who had such an awareness of their intimacy with Christ that even the most boring lecture was made compelling and alive as they couldn’t help but express their love for God with relevance and poignancy to the subject!

In the future, I hope to perpetuate this ethos, by loving Jesus and teaching others to do the same. The academic and spiritual culture at Eastern has enflamed my passion for God, and I hope to someday do the same for future students by becoming a lecturer (among other pursuits) myself!”


Christopher MacLeod has completed undergraduate studies at Eastern in the Bachelor of Theology and is currently studying a Masters in Practical Theology at Eastern College Australia. He is also a church planter in the northern suburbs of Melbourne and a passionate advocate for the oneness and unity of Jesus’ Church.

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Student Life: Malathy Fuller

“First of all, I have to mention the kind of person I am today compared to 2 years ago, when I landed in Australia. I was apprehensive about how I would be accepted into a society where my looks, culture and general attitude differs massively.

It is with a lot of trepidation that I joined Eastern College, just a couple of months of migrating to Australia from Singapore. The approachable, warm, understanding and helpful lecturers stood up as a role model for my fellow students to replicate the same behavior. It was always an atmosphere of congeniality and intellectualism combined with humour and caring.

Though I come from a different religion, I was educated about Christianity, world views and spirituality without being forced to practice, which was a pleasant and welcoming surprise for me. Studying in Eastern has opened a wide window of knowledge, confidence and a realistic plan about my future.

I am glad and thankful to God for having made me choose Eastern College, amongst the dozen universities that I enquired prior admission. Because, with bigger universities, the individual attention, help and flexibility to students would have been absent.”

Malathy Fuller
Graduate Diploma in Education (Primary)

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God and Personal Vocation

A beautifully written and insightful excerpt from current Bachelor of Arts student 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

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

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School of Theology: http://bit.ly/2980VfG
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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

Life as an Eastern Student: Lisa Grant

“Although only a short way into my part time Visual Arts Degree I have found Eastern College to be both challenging and inspiring.

I went to get an education in order to facilitate my plans for future work and have discovered that I have been challenged, stretched and grown in mind body and spirit through attending Eastern. I have grown not just in knowledge but in faith.  I have a greater belief in myself and am more confident that I can do something to make a difference.

Justice Conference painting

Looking to do a visual arts degree, with a view to branch into Art Therapy, I began looking around at various universities and colleges. In my searching, I discovered Tabor (now Eastern) not only offered an accredited Visual Arts Degree, they also integrated Christian spirituality through the curriculum and not just as individual bible or faith subjects.  This was very attractive and challenged me to consider doing my degree at Eastern.  To add even further benefits, Eastern also offered a minor in community development subjects, not something I had heard of before, it offered a perfect segue to apply what I was learning about visual arts.

While only a year or two into my part time course, I have been challenged stretched and educated in so many ways.  In the midst of my busy life of part time work, family responsibilities and other community connections I started the course thinking I would get in do the study and classes and get out, only to discover that the relationships and conversations with lecturers and fellow students challenged and blessed me beyond what I had imagined and is an invaluable part of the learning experience.

 One of the stand out benefits is the integration into the subjects of hands on projects and participation in events in the community.  This has revolutionized my idea of ‘classroom learning’ and exponentially inspired, challenged and improved my capacity to learn and understand.

Lisa Grant Painting

 I have found Eastern is a supportive and helpful environment where students develop professionalism in their thinking and learning. As a mature age student re-entering a learning environment after many years, Eastern offered me encouragement and practical support – offering classes in basic skills of essay writing. I would highly recommend Eastern College.

Thank you to Eastern for offering such a stimulating faith filled professional learning environment.”

Lisa Grant
Bachelor of Arts student

Signpost To Point The Way

By Helen Tiong
Former student of Eastern College Australia
Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies

Do you remember the name of the person who prayed for Saul of Tarsus after he was blinded? Well you won’t find his name in the list of heroes of faith nor read about his missionary exploits. In fact you won’t hear of him anywhere else in the Bible. But I thought of him recently at an Alumni brunch as I listened admiringly to testimonies of the experiences of some wonderful past students. I began to imagine how he would fit into a similar context.

What great topics were discussed, to feel inspired and awed at how God moves. Peter preached to a massive crowd and 3000 people were baptised. Seven positions for deacon were filled in Jerusalem. Philip preached in Samaria and to an Ethiopian.

‘Ananias, what’s been happening in your life?’

‘Well this week I prayed for someone: I wasn’t sure that God knew what was going on, so I tried to explain things to him and then I reluctantly and a bit nervously went and prayed for the man anyway.’

Bit of an anti-climax! But Ananias had heard God speaking and because of his obedience God was able to use him, so perhaps, he could take some credit for Paul’s later ministry.  What a comfort, because in the presence of people obviously used by God I had felt quite underwhelmed by my ‘achievements’. Over the years, there have been many occasions and opportunities where I believe God has led me and used me.   But I’m still on the journey and even if my life doesn’t seem as dramatic as others I know that’s okay. I’m still making mistakes and still learning.

The Alumni brunch was for Eastern College. When I started back in mid-1993 as a mature age student it was known as Tabor, with reference to the transfiguration- witnesses of his majesty.  I liked the sound of that.

I had read Paul’s words in my bible to ‘study to show yourself approved unto God’, and that was my main purpose for Bible college. I gave myself a way out if it was too difficult- I could easily go back to being a dumb housewife. But I really wanted to do well and so without even having passed year 12 in the distant past, I signed up for a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies.

When I started I didn’t even know what a bibliography was and had to ask my kids, who were doing much better at school than I expected to do here. I learnt a lot at Tabor though.  Some classes were more memorable than others. I have an enriched understanding of the Bible after three years of Exegesis but I mostly remember that my own walk with God grew through all the challenges of combining family life and study. After graduating from Tabor, I found it hard to leave and so undertook part-time shifts as a volunteer librarian at Tabor St Albans campus. That went on my resume when I later applied for a job in a bookshop.

Tabor study and research skills have stood me in good stead over the years. I have managed to accrue subsequent qualifications: I’ve done Pastoral Care at Peter MacCallum and completed my Master of Teaching at University of Melbourne; I obtained a certificate in teaching English to adults at RMIT, where I also met another Tabor student adding to his post-grad skills. As well as state schools and private students, I have taught a class of South Koreans who were in Melbourne for their summer language school. While there are obvious limitations for open witnessing, I try to instil Biblical principles in my students where possible, by what I say and how I live.

I have worked in a Christian bookstore and although official policy was no individual witnessing or counselling, when asked specific questions, I was equipped academically and spiritually and gave specific answers. At two different stores I was put in charge of the reference section because my knowledge gained at Tabor had been recognised.

At my previous church I even taught an ‘Intro to biblical languages’ course using some of my Greek notes from Tabor. At my current church, I am involved in kitchen duties and writing devotional articles for the Church bulletin. With the sound foundations developed during my time at Tabor, whatever I do and wherever I am, my desire is found in the words of a Children’s Church song:

“Let me be a  to Jesus,
Let me be a mirror to reflect the saviour’s love,
Let me be a fountain of blessings to those around me,
Fill me Holy Spirit with God’s love.”

The “How” of Learning: Laura Young

“What I loved about studying (at Eastern) was that it was very relevant but also really engaged me personally. We talked about where has God gifted you? What skills has he given you? Where can you serve him? I absolutely loved it and I loved having a smaller class because it was really personal and you got to know people really well. The lecturers were very real, and open and honest about their own faith journey as well. I just loved it because it was a very positive learning environment, it was really personal and we just had our faith incorporated into everything.

I did YITS, which was a gap year course designed for 17 – 21 year olds. There were about 40 of us and we spent a lot of time reflecting on where we’d been in our lives, what shaped us, who were the people who had influenced us and then we looked at where we want to serve God in the world.

Tabor2015-050

It was a great space after the Year 12 to process the questions: Who am I? Who is God? Where does he want me to be? It helped me discern how I wanted to live my life. It was a space where I thought about what job do I want to pursue? Where do I see myself in the world? It helped me discover my joy and passion for working with young people, so it helped to really think about wanting to be a youth worker, to walk alongside young people and help them explore life. It impacted me because it was a space to stop and think, “What do I want to do with my life? Who do I want to be?”

So after that I decided to do the BA in Youth Studies. I had been going to do Health

Sciences, which I had picked because I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. We had a class in the YITS year that talked about vocation. The question became what is a passion and what is a need I see, and how can those meet? For me that was to pursue youth work as I realised how much I wanted to walk alongside young people, support them in life and provide them with options.

The reason I decided to study further at (Eastern) was because the learning was very holistic, it involved me as a person, it included my faith journey and it included who I was. What I had experienced in the one-year course made me think “Okay, this is really personal learning, really open learning, a lot of conversation, a lot of discussion.” So the reason I wanted to continue at (Eastern) rather than another tertiary institution was because it was very personal. Our classes were small and it meant I had a voice to contribute which was welcomed and encouraged, and I loved the personal aspect with the lecturer sitting there in the room with you sharing some of their story. What I loved is that they didn’t give answers but encouraged us to come up with our own answers. It was very much the “how” of learning, not just the “what”. They weren’t talking at us but inviting us into dialogue and talking about how we’re going to take what we’re learning and implement that in our lives.

That was what I loved about (Eastern). It was very challenging, very encouraging and very welcoming of my own views and contributions.

I was already doing a youth internship at my church and because I was studying youth work they asked if I wanted to become a youth worker. So I had an amazing opportunity to take what I had learnt into a career. I also worked for a period as a Schools’ Presenter doing values based workshops on topics like bullying, self-esteem, drugs and alcohol. My lecturer was the CEO of that organisation and he introduced me to the idea which was amazing because I hadn’t really considered that as an option. It all just came together because I was at Eastern studying youth work.”

Discerning My Calling: Sheron Ng

Bachelor of Theology graduate, Sheron Ng reflects on the important part Eastern College played in helping her discern her calling.

“I work at OMF International creating mobilisation materials and media resources for our ministries and missionaries both here and in Asia. Through my work, I tell stories of how God is working in the lives of unreached people groups throughout East Asia, encouraging Christians in Australia to get involved. However, this is nothing like what I planned to do. I went to (Eastern) thinking I would come out as a Christian minister, working in a church, maybe doing kid’s ministry; but halfway through, I was really challenged by God’s heart for mission. I hadn’t previously realised how clear that was in the Bible, and it made me change my degree from a ministry stream to a missions’ stream.

Tabor2015-041

It was quite an emotional time for me because of the change I was going through. My worldview was being reshaped and I couldn’t quite articulate it. I was driving home from class in tears one day, and I remember it being really dark on the freeway and thinking how dangerous it was that I couldn’t see through my tears. I remember praying, “God, I love this so much, I love what you’re speaking to me about, but it’s heartbreaking because I don’t want to leave my comfort zone, I don’t want to have to give up my career, give up my passions, give up my friends and family back home and go overseas. But I can see your heart for the lost, those who have never heard of Christ before.” In that moment I knew that I couldn’t turn back. I was being challenged at school in what I was reading and studying in the Bible, and looking at it through a different lens was very transformational.
Even though I’m not physically overseas, I would never have applied for my current role if God hadn’t led me here through applying for long-term mission work. I remember really struggling when I first felt God calling me. I said to him, “I’m not going, there’s just no way”, so I refused to seek him for clarity. Whenever I went to church, whenever I opened my Bible, or sang songs of worship, there were always tears. God even spoke through lectures on completely different subjects and topics. I had one teacher who prophesied something very specific about me, and I asked her how she knew. She looked at me and told me she prayed for her all students regularly and it was something God had impressed on her heart. After a while, I couldn’t ignore it any longer. As soon as I obeyed, turned around, and said to God, “I’ll do whatever you want me to do” and gave it all to him, I had peace in my heart and I didn’t have to struggle anymore.

I think that if I had studied at a regular University I wouldn’t have been so in tune with what God wanted me to do. I would have been chasing after my own passions, my own dreams, and for my own sake. But being in a tertiary environment with other Christians and lecturers who really cared about how we were living our lives for the kingdom really helped me to look to him and seek his help for guidance and not just do things my own way.”

It Began With A Divine Conversation: Kylie Butler

Managing Director of Christian Coaching Institute and Generations and Emerging Leaders Pastor at Baptist Union Victoria, Kylie Butler, reflects on her experience studying at Eastern College.

“I began my time at Eastern, with a divine conversation with Cheryl McCallum. I was unsure about my next steps for study, and she shared with me the outline of the Masters program. It seemed to fit my study personality so well; I loved how it was based on questions, research of both current context, historical context and theology.
Kylie photo pic 2015-2
Was study easy – no way, I was juggling 2 jobs, family and study throughout my entire Masters program. However, it was some of the most practical, useful and helpful study I have ever done. I was implementing what I had learnt immediately into my work context. One of my favourite parts was the final semester completing a research project on why young people are leaving the church (in Australia) and leaving faith and what helps them to stay. This was immediately applicable to my role at the Baptist Union of Victoria, working in generational ministry. My research project was submitted to the BUV leadership team and my role adapted to reflect the recommendations made in my research project. I enjoyed my learning time at Eastern, it has helped to ask deeper, more contextual and reflective questions about life and faith, and also given me a theological depth to ministry I didn’t have previously.”