Have you considered how the gospel of Jesus Christ unites people from a wide variety of backgrounds and across vast geographical distances? Right across this nation, men and women who love Christ and his word have linked themselves in one way or other with Moore College. They have been brought to the foot of Christ’s cross and they want to know the gospel better, to preach and teach it to others, and to serve lovingly and effectively in a variety of contexts. That is a great encouragement to us. We at the College want to see ministry right across Australia (and indeed around the world) that speaks the truth about Christ crucified and risen, and the response this astonishing mercy demands (Luke 24:45–47). We want to play our part in faithfully preparing men and women to do just that. That is why we exist.
The College itself is located in the inner city of Sydney. It enjoys the tremendous support of the Diocese of Sydney, a network of churches committed to reaching the wider community with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet its students come from all over, from suburbs of Sydney very different from the one in which the College sits, from regional New South Wales, from interstate, and from many different countries around the world. They come from a variety of Christian denominations, with an increasing number of independent students. We have never wanted to be locked away in a small bubble in Sydney, but to reach out as far as we can. The message with which we have been entrusted is for everyone.
In this issue of Moore Matters we are concentrating on that wide reach to support and resource ministry right across Australia. Christian ministry has its challenges in any context, but there is a particularly difficult element to ministry in the more remote areas of the country which do not always have the resources that are so readily available in Sydney. Fewer people and greater distances, cycles of drought and flood resulting in a fragile financial viability, and the changing patterns of life outside the major cities all bring challenges that are not experienced in city ministry.
Moore graduates are serving in every state in Australia. We are delighted that they have opportunities in churches, schools and universities, and other Christian organisations to speak of Jesus and live out among his people and the wider community what it means to be one of his disciples. Nine theological and Bible colleges in five cities have Moore College graduates on their faculty, and five of those have Moore graduates as their principal! We have a longstanding interest in and commitment to supporting and resourcing ministry in as many places as we can across Australia.
We obviously have a special connection with the Anglican churches across the country. At last count, fifteen of the bishops in dioceses around the country are graduates of Moore. Eight of those lead their dioceses. The ministry of Moore graduates is welcomed across the country and increasingly so. We are very keen to resource every one of them in whatever way we can. We certainly don’t think that our ministry to our students ends the moment they graduate!
This breadth of interest and opportunity is not always known or appreciated. We are and will always be the theological college of the Diocese of Sydney, but our vision is much larger. For many years now our correspondence course, the Preliminary Theological Certificate (PTC), has been used by many in remote areas and other parts of the world. More recently part-time study for the one-year program and online study of both the PTC and the new Diploma of Biblical Theology (DBT) have opened opportunities for those in far–flung places. We are hoping that these will really be of help to many.
Sydney is an extraordinary place with very great need, but it is the base rather than the limit of our interest and ministry as a College. Jesus’ great commission to his disciples did not have a limit: “to all nations” and “to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18–20). Every human life is precious to our God and so everyone needs the opportunity to hear about Jesus and be built up in him. The opportunities for ministry are both rich and plentiful right throughout Australia. The words of the apostle Paul are a great challenge to us as we consider gospel need in our vast country:
How then will they call on him whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!” (Romans 10:14–15)
Will you pray that the Lord will raise up labourers for his far-flung harvest? We need men and women who have grown up in rural Australia and in other cities, who know and understand what is going on in those places, to come to Moore. And we pray that such men and women will return after study at Moore to exercise a wonderfully effective ministry in bringing the word of God to bear in people’s lives. We need men and women who are passionate about the gospel and passionate about people, who will take the time to walk alongside people and share Jesus with them. But we also need men and women who have grown up in Sydney and share a real burden for the advance of the gospel in other places—in the country towns and villages, and in the very different cities with very different backgrounds in other parts of Australia. And then, of course, there is the world.
The great saints of the past dreamed big and prayed big. Will you dare to do just that and pray that the whole of Australia might be won for Christ?
Originally published in Moore Matters Winter 2021