Ridley runs an integrated program of education and formation. Whether you are studying on-campus, online, or a combination of both, we are concerned not just to develop your mind, but also your heart and hands. Ridley exists to equip men and women for God’s mission in a rapidly changing and increasingly complex world. We recognise that godliness is indispensable to ministry, and so we seek to foster Christ-like character and prayerful dependence on God.
Formation for on-campus students
On-campus students have great opportunities to engage in the Ridley campus community. Since character is ‘caught not taught’ it is through the values and culture of the community that people see and experience what it means to be a mature follower of Jesus. We believe that chapel services, community meals, conversations over coffee in the college lounge, prayer during classes, and mentoring are not optional extras — they are as vital to developing Christian leaders as lectures and assessments.
During your first, foundational year (or part-time equivalent) on-campus students take part in two Guided Spiritual Formation units (PC096, PC097). These units combine personal reflection with group discussion and give you an opportunity to focus on your own spiritual life, forming good habits of reflection for a life of ministry. This is part of the Ridley pathway for any on-campus students who are doing a two year or longer award.
Students in later years take part in Vocational Mentoring Groups. Mentoring groups give an opportunity to continue the practices learned in Guided Spiritual Formation with others who are training for similar kinds of ministry contexts. These are a core part of the Ridley campus formation program, and so on-campus students are expected to be part of one.
Of course, formation also takes place in our classes, whether on campus or online, in which we don’t just study what the Bible teaches, but also apply it to our own lives, allowing it to change and shape us into mature Christian leaders. The Ministry & Practice units are specifically focused on helping you to grow and develop your skills in ministry and reflective practice.
Spiritual formation at College builds upon the ministry of the local church. We seek to complement, supplement and partner with your church, which remains primarily responsible for your Christian discipleship and pastoral care.
Formation for online students
Online students often have the benefit of remaining in their current life and ministry context while they study. We recognise that online students have different needs and study patterns and so we aim to embed formational learning opportunities throughout our online courses in the way we structure our units. This includes dynamic learning environments, extended opportunities to interact with other students, lecturers and tutors, an authentic assessment which integrates with students’ life and ministry contexts, and plenty of opportunities for reflection.
Online students who are completing a full degree online are also expected to complete the four units in Guided Spiritual Formation (PC096, PC097, PC098, PC099), which help you integrate what you are learning with your other units by guiding you to reflect (individually and with others) on your own spiritual development and identity, and grow in your ministry and relationship with God.
We also strongly encourage online students to complete a Field Work unit towards the end of your degree program, such as PC094 Practical Ministry Field Education, and where possible, to take a unit in intensive mode on campus.