“If you study full-time, in-person at Christ College, your mind will be sharpened, your heart will be transformed, your imaginations will be shaped, and you will be moved to love and serve the Lord with a greater sense of urgency.”
Elliot Ku migrated to Australia from Malaysia at the age of 15. While he had been raised in the Christian faith in Malaysia, it was in Sydney that he came to know Jesus personally. Elliot describes “truly understanding grace” around the age of 17, and having his life path changed because of it.
From full-time study to full-time ministry
He shares, “I never used to understand the sacrifice of ministry that I saw others doing. But once I understood grace I knew why, and I felt called to ministry myself.” Although he originally planned to be a lawyer, Elliot made a decision to pursue a degree he thought would serve a career in ministry. So he studied history and education at UNSW.
At the end of his teaching degree, Elliot spent some time wrestling with his pastor about his next steps and concluded that undertaking a ministry apprenticeship at his local church would work well in advancing his preparation to be a pastor. He undertook a 1-year ministry apprenticeship at South West Evangelical Church.
The decision to study at Christ College
After his apprenticeship ended, Elliot took what he describes as the “next logical step”, going to theological college. The choice to attend Christ College was due to three main factors; the faculty, their confessional commitment and their leadership program.
Elliot was impressed with the teaching staff, their experience, various expertise and approachability. The Leadership Development Program (LDP) run by Christ College was also a real stand out. Elliot says, “I see a need for really good leaders in the church so the Leadership Development Program Christ College offers really stood out to me.”
Elliot describes beginning at Christ College with a focus on being a high achiever. An early conversation in his pastoral care group however changed his perspective. Elliot shares, “One of my lecturers in pastoral groups said ‘We don’t want you to be getting A’s at college and F’s at home. This really struck me as I had been so focussed on doing well academically I was willing to let everything else suffer. But God hasn’t made us as one-dimensional people.”
More than just a qualification
Throughout his classes in the Master of Divinity course, Elliot got to combine two of his passions – history and theology. He was enthralled by learning more about church history and how it informs the church today.
Elliot also describes gaining a greater appreciation of reformed theology. He says, “I knew reformed theology before I went to Christ College but I really got to understand it more than simply a doctrine of salvation.”
A particular experience during his Master’s study that struck him was when studying the book of Lamentations. Elliot says, “my lecturer said, what qualifies you to be a good pastor is not your Master of Divinity, it’s that you can sit and lament with people and pray with them.” This had a big role in shaping his theology of pastoral leadership.
His love of history and church history has kept Elliot involved in the college. He is currently a PhD candidate in Patristics with a focus on Augustine’s theology of joy in his Enarrationes in Psalmos.
As a PhD student, Elliot was given the opportunity to contribute an article to Christ College’s newly formed academic journal, Gospel Leadership. Elliot says, “I want to improve my writing and sharing of ideas, so this seemed like a good opportunity.”
Having been studying Augustine’s sermon on Psalm 95 as a part of his PHD research, Elliot wrote his paper, ‘Lifting Eyes and Awakening Hearts: Augustine and the Essential Work of Preaching to Stir and Stimulate Joy’ with an intention to encourage and inspire pastors.
Dreams of 100 gospel workers
Outside of his PhD, Elliot serves as the Campus Pastor at GracePoint Presbyterian Lidcombe. He also helps to equip his church members through the Centre for Faith and Ministry.
Having come from a ministry apprenticeship himself, Elliot is passionate about church apprenticeships and internships. Therefore, he seeks to continue this work of multiplying Gospel workers through GracePoint’s Gospel Labourers Project. He shares, “My current dream and goal is to train 10 gospel workers in the next 10 years. And my aim is that for the 10 I train, they train 10, so in 20 years there will be 100 trained gospel workers.”
Elliot emphasises the benefit of studying full-time on campus at Christ College saying, “your mind will be sharpened, your heart will be transformed, your imaginations will be shaped, and you will be moved to love and serve the Lord with a greater sense of urgency.”
Read Elliot’s article and more in Christ College’s journal, Gospel Leadership.