Earlier this year, the GracePoint Presbyterian Church parishes combined to put together their second training event with the goal of equipping under-shepherds. The 2023 ‘Trained to Teach’ conference, also known as T3, was held at Christ Church Sydney on January 10-13. The speakers were Ian Smith, Principal and Lecturer at Christ College and Dan Lee, Campus Pastor at MBM Parramatta.
T3 has four main aims for its attendants:
- Read God’s Word well for themselves
- Teach God’s Word well to others
- Write a Bible Study or Sermon
- Serve effectively in kids, youth, young adults, and worker’s ministry
Clement and his role in T3
Clement is currently in his second year of an MTS apprenticeship at the GracePoint Lidcombe Parish and is actively involved in T3.
Clement shared that one of GracePoint’s student ministers, John Le, worked with the pastors to create the material, while he and other ministry apprentices helped with the organisation, logistics and running of the conference.
“I have also been involved in strand group leading. In 2022 with a co-leader I led Strand 1 – Biblical Exegesis, and in 2023 I led Strand 2 – Biblical Theology,” he said.
“Currently, there are five strands. Each of these strands builds upon the foundations set by the previous strand, with the hope that delegates progress through year by year.”
- Strand 1 looks at Biblical Exegesis and gets delegates to think carefully about how God’s Word is interpreted and explained critically.
- Strand 2 looks at Biblical Theology and helps delegates understand how God’s plan of salvation through Christ unfolds in the Bible.
- Strand 3 looks at Systematic Theology and teaches delegates to summarise and synthesise what the Bible has to say about a given topic.
- Strand 4 tackles Preaching & Communication and equips delegates to communicate God’s word within the context of an expository sermon.
- Strand 5 (introduced in 2023) explores Apologetics and engages delegates in defending the Christian faith through reasoning and discussion.
Trained to Teach 2023 theme and content
The theme of the conference in 2023 was ‘Joy in Suffering’. Clement shared that T3 explored this theme through the books of Lamentations and 1 Peter.
“We identified that the hope found in belonging to Christ allows Christians to face suffering with joy even as we navigate a world impacted by the effects of sin,” he said.
“Rev. Dr Ian Smith from Christ College, Rev. Dan Lee from MBM Church Parramatta and other speakers helped us think through the topic, and how to use God’s Word to minister to Christians struggling with suffering and brokenness.”
Clement said that T3 was an opportunity to see people come together from different denominational backgrounds.
“They are thinking hard about God’s Word and how to teach it faithfully and competently. Everyone was quite passionate about being equipped and taking what they’ve learnt back to their churches to serve,” he said.
An encouraging story from T3
Clement shared that he was particularly encouraged by a delegate who attended the conference from an ethnic church and said she was gripped by the breadth and depth of God’s Word.
“There is so much to learn that it reminds her to be humble,” Clement said. “Currently, similar training wasn’t available at her church. So she was also eager to think about how she could start applying what she’s learnt to her own church and to train current leaders who are also eager to be equipped as well.”
Looking ahead to T3 2024
While the team working on T3 has begun to plan for the 2024 conference, they encourage everyone to consider attending.
Clement shares, “In our current climate where the marginalisation of the Christian faith and practice grows, there is an increasing need for Christians to be equipped to handle God’s Word in a way that is faithful, relevant, and engaging. Our great desire is to see God’s Word reach the nations and the generations; therefore, it is even more crucial to see members of the church get equipped, especially in light of the different contexts in which God has placed them”.
One of the things Clement found particularly encouraging about the conference was that it was a humbling experience, and it gave him a chance to share the joys and challenges of handling God’s Word with his brothers and sisters in Christ.
“At Gracepoint, we recognise within Sydney (especially within our denomination circles) that week-long training of this sort does not exist. Therefore, we want to continue providing such opportunities and help more churches recognise the value and be involved,” he said.
If you want to find out more about T3 2024, you can follow T3 Trained to Teach’s social media pages for their updates.