I was 18 years old when I left my home to study worship music in Australia. What were my parents thinking, letting their precious baby fly and live 7,762 miles (12,493 kms) away? They were thinking about my future. There wasn’t a place near my home where you could study worship music like you could at Hillsong College. You could study music competitively, but not in a contemporary church setting. You could study Bible, if you wanted to get good at writing essays. But, there was nothing that ran ministry courses with teachers who were in the thick of ministry themselves, being attached to a vibrant and missional local church. A place where you could get your hands dirty, not just mastering the theoretical, but the day in and day out of serving God. That was 10 years ago.
I sometimes wonder what it would have been like if I was too scared to leave my home, my family, my comfort zone to be in the unfamiliar and the unknown. I think that if I had stayed in my comfort zone, God would still have blessed the path I chose. God can work outside my comfort zone and He can work in my comfort zone, but there are a lot of things that you can’t learn by staying where it’s comfortable. For one, it’s easy to trust in God when you’re with your friends, family, community, neighbourhood, country, and culture. When you have to make new friends, be away from family, build a community from scratch in a new neighbourhood in a new country – it’s there that trust in God is forged, in the unknown. You don’t have anything else to rely on except for Jesus.
My four years at Hillsong College were a coming-of-age. I could either rely on my own strength and fail (and I did), or I could learn to take an ocean-sized leap of faith and trust God. Of course, after years, Australia began to feel like my “comfort zone”. But when it was time for me to move away, I knew that because I had already taken that leap of faith years before, this time, stepping out of any comfort zone wasn’t going to be a problem. I had learned to trust in Christ, and not in the safety of the familiar. Suddenly, when I moved to a new place, I didn’t get culture shock. It was my trust in Jesus that made the culture around me move.
Written by Isaac Soon
Isaac Soon is an alumnus of Hillsong College having finished his Diploma in Ministry in 2008 and his BTh in 2010. He was a College Trainer from 2011-2015 teaching musicianship, songwriting, and theology. He has recently finished his MPhil in Theology at the University of Oxford (2017) and is studying for a PhD in Theology & Religion (New Testament) at the University of Durham. He currently serves as a European representative as well as a course developer for College.