Adam Handley recently graduated from Ridley College. We had the opportunity to interview him and asked him to share something of his experiences as an online student completing a Master of Ministry.
What were your motivations to study theology?
Studying at Ridley coincided with my commissioning as a minister and my appointment as an assembly leader with ACTS Global Churches (Apostolic Church Australia). Given this call, I really wanted to systematically study the areas of ministry that I had not yet been trained in. I really appreciated engaging with ministry colleagues who had rigorous theological training experience, and I had long held a desire to study theology. Although internships and part-time training were possible through my denomination, I yearned to immerse myself fully in the journey of formation.
Why did you choose Ridley College?
When I compared colleges back in 2015, Ridley stood out for four (4) reasons:
The flexible modes of study, especially the ability to pick up units in a third trimester.
The portable nature of study at Ridley is that the Masters course could be completed entirely online. This meant that I could continue my study wherever I was in Australia.
The online content was of high quality. Video lectures were presented by both notable authors from abroad and by Ridley Faculty.
Ridley provided Logos software for study. The College made sure that an extensive library of resources was available for online students via the Logos package.
But the fundamental reason I chose Ridley was that I wanted to access learning that was not part of my formation and lived experience within the Pentecostal tradition.
What did you study at Ridley?
I initially enrolled in a Master of Divinity. However, due to my need to take a leave of absence in 2020, I articulated into a Master of Ministry. In addition to core units, I studied Greek, Leadership, Missions, Archaeology, Spiritual Formation, Chaplaincy, and Children and Youth Ministry. Most notably, I toured the Holy Land and learned to sail a yacht with Ridley College.
How did you engage with faculty or other students/cohorts as an online student?
Early in my course, I did an on-campus intensive on Leadership with Tim Foster and stayed on campus for a week. I made friends and connected well with those in the class. The following year, I attended the three-week Greek intensive with Andrew Malone. During this stay, Graham Stanton reached out to me, and I participated in dinners on campus, which felt like extended family get-togethers. My next engagement with students at Ridley came on a tour to Israel, where I made friends from across the country during this immersive experience. I also signed up for the Experiential Leadership unit based in Sydney on a yacht, learning to lead in a crisis. In 2021 I met Ryan Holt online when studying Chaplaincy and connected with him again in the second semester when studying Children’s and Youth Ministry with Graham Stanton.
What do you plan to do moving ahead?
I plan to continue in Christian Education in the short term, serving as a Christian Living teacher and helping to shape this ministry in my local context. I am curious about Defence Force chaplaincy because I have incidentally accumulated the pre-requisites for such service, having studied at Ridley. My main concern in the short term is for my family and ensuring that they are provided for, so ministry and service opportunities that may develop for me will be viewed through this lens.
Would you recommend Ridley College, and how would you say it in a sentence or two?
The formational journey at Ridley College is undergirded by a Gospel-centred pedagogy and an active worshipping community, and this journey delivers a rigorous, world-class theological education that shapes character and glorifies Christ. I recommend Ridley College to those who find themselves challenged to prepare for the call of God to kingdom ministry, but even more so to those in the midst of such service in need of refreshment and resourcing.