Empowered for Word-based ministry

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Empowered for Word-based ministry

“We’re asking people with families and a mortgage to drop their gainful employment and study full-time. Then they’re not only stressed about assignments, but they’re stressed about making their mortgage payments on Austudy, or about buying their kids’ school uniforms. The scholarship fund is a really great initiative for helping mature people coming into ministry. It makes it possible—without stress.”

Kat Oxley is a deaconess candidate studying a Masters of Divinity. She’s also a recipient of a Tuition Scholarship. Through her experience at Christ College, Kat is being equipped for Word-based ministry—wherever God leads.

Kat didn’t grow up in a Christian family. She came to Christ while she was studying at university. It was her older sister who became a Christian first.

“She tells me that she honestly put me in the too hard basket,” Kat laughs. “She thought there was no way I would become a Christian, but she still prayed for me.”

At that time, Kat’s heart was hardened towards the gospel.

“I was really antagonistic to Christians,” Kat admits. “I was convinced that there was an answer out there. But I was convinced it wasn’t Christianity, because I was really upset about a lot of the ways that I had perceived Christian morality as hurting me and my friends and my loved ones.”

When Kat’s sister had a knee reconstruction, Kat became her personal taxi driver. It was on one of these trips that she found herself invited into a Bible study that ran overtime. The rest, as they say, is history.

As Kat began spending more time with her sister’s Christian friends, she was surprised by two things: how much fun they could have while sober, and how much they loved her. They made Kat feel more included than her own friends did.

At Easter 20 years ago, Kat gave her life to Christ. The words in Romans 5 hit home as she realised that God put his life on the line for us when we hated him.

“The other thing I realised was that if Jesus loves me that much, it doesn’t matter that I disagree with him,” Kat says. “I can trust him.”

What followed was two years of struggle as Kat wrestled with what it would look like to live life for Jesus. The struggle certainly involved serious spiritual growth, because two years after becoming a Christian, Kat had started a university ministry traineeship. Five years after becoming a Christian, she was studying part-time at Christ College.

Kat undertook a Graduate Diploma of Divinity so that she could become a senior staff worker within the uni student ministry.

15 years later, after getting married and working in church ministry in the States, Kat is back at Christ College—this time as a deaconess candidate studying a Masters of Divinity.

“Now I’m sitting in these classes and everything is clicking,” Kat explains. “Whereas the first time it was all new and it was all very cognitive. Now it’s like, ‘Well, hold on a second. How does that match ministry on the ground? And how does that interact with this other theology that you just taught me? And how does that doctrine over here, link to this piece of Scripture here?’”

It was a desire to be equipped for Word-based ministry that has led Kat back to college.

“I realised I couldn’t help others to be equipped for it until I’m equipped for it,” Kat shares. “I needed to go back and do the original languages, do the hermeneutics classes, and do the preaching classes.”

The decision to become a deaconess candidate was very intentional, too.

“I don’t like titles,” Kat admits, “and yet being on the website of my old church as the director of women’s ministry gave people permission to ‘bother me’. You know, to email me, to ask me to meet up with them. So I realised it’s not about me. It’s about others knowing that I’m set aside for this.”

While studying, Kat and her husband Pete are actively seeking where they might serve the Lord post-college. If it weren’t for the Tuition Scholarship, Kat may not have had the opportunity to study at all.

“As a woman who has come out of university with a full HECS debt, then has worked in lower paid roles, and taken five years off to raise children, I have a huge HECS debt now,” Kat explains. “So I started to worry that my debt would go above the ceiling and I wouldn’t be able to finish my MDiv. Winning this scholarship gives me a lot more freedom and less stress about that.”

Donate to the Christ College scholarship fund now, and enable other students like Kat to become equipped for gospel work. 


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