Chui Wai Hung
Having served in the church for many years, I started studying in the Certificate Program of Theological Education by Extension (TEE) in the autumn of 2011, hoping that studying theology would strengthen my service and enrich my spiritual life.
Looking back, I had an enjoyable time of learning at CGST in the past three years. Situated at a convenient location, the study environment was very good. More important, teachers were rigorous in equipping us, and there was so much I can learn from them. Homework assignment was appropriate and fit the learning. “Church and Ministry" was the first subject that I took. Its homework requirement should be the toughest among others: I was required to read two books, submit two essays on reflection and sharing of my ministry experience, and do a book report. I was glad that I managed to have finished all assignments properly. I felt more at ease to handle other subjects’ exams and engagements thereafter.
TEE courses encourage thinking and discussion. Teachers often ask us to discuss in groups and share in class to encourage interaction among students and with teachers. In terms of assignments, students are required to submit an essay of 1200 to 1500 words in most subjects, motivating us to reflect on the theories that we learnt in class, and comparing what we learnt with the actual experience of our faith and of our ministry. We do not need to submit a lengthy essay, it is just a good way for us to reflect and ponder on the subject matter, and allowing teachers and students to dialogue. I have been thinking: it might not be a difficult job for a student to write a 1200-words essay, but it is definitely not an easy task for teachers to mark 30-100 such essays.
The subject “Introduction to Worship” that I studied in Spring 2013 was a fruitful one. I remember by that time I was in charge of the pastoral ministry of my church, responsible for worship, Sunday school and Bible reading. I used to have less involvement in pastoral ministry. Thanks to the Lord, He gave me the opportunity to serve together with a group of devoted brothers and sisters, and pastors. When I knew that this subject was offered, I enrolled at once, hoping that I would gain better understanding about church worship and ministry. I had a rewarding time. The assignment allowed me to discuss and understand in depth with my pastors and brothers and sisters on topics related to worship, deepening my knowledge and confidence in worship ministry.
The benefits of studying subjects on theological studies include enrichment of my spiritual knowledge and appetite. Teacher’s knowledge and sharing in class helped me to gain basic understanding in various areas, even if I found it difficult and was less interested in some areas. Studying theological subjects also challenged my reading interest and habit, as well as my time management, which had always been my weakness. Lastly, spiritual life and spiritual knowledge are interwoven, I found that augmenting my knowledge with theological studies can prompt my spiritual life as well. I am more ready to reflect, re-orient and breakthrough. These are all valuable experiences that I have reaped from the Theological Education by Extension studies.