WHAT DO STUDENTS GET OUT OF COLLEGE?
Just like at many other higher education institutions, students leave Hillsong College with a wealth of knowledge as well as a tenacity to learn and understand what they don’t already know. But, there are some specific things that students only get at Hillsong College.
For one, students get the opportunity to learn front and centre at one of the most influential churches in the world today, Hillsong Church. Whether it’s leadership inside or outside of ministry, music production and performance, or practical theology and study of the Bible, students get to learn cutting-edge ministry skills from teachers, pastors, and practitioners who are actually outworking (and improving) time-honoured methods of building the local church.
Part of studying in a church that is making a global impact like Hillsong also means that students get an enlarged vision of the kinds of influence the Christian church as Christians in general can have in society at large. Most of us who come to college grew up in smaller congregations. Smaller doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not good. These congregations foster incredible bonds and often meet the needs at the heart of their local communities. But, to be able to participate, even for a short time, in a community with global vision and impact can give you a bigger idea of who God is, what the Church as a whole can be, and the impact you yourself can make on the planet. Our college is about building the local church, and students who come study with us are encouraged to dream big and gain a larger, bolder perspective for the communities to which they’re returning back.
Another advantage Hillsong College graduates get out of coming to college is that they gain an international network of friends, colleagues, and mentors. Of course, wherever you go whether it’s for work or vacation there will likely be Hillsong College alumni there (we have graduates from over 100 nations worldwide). But, whether you’re a leader in a church or trying to make an influence in your field of expertise, it’s comforting to have a network of people around the world in the same situation who know what you’re going through. In a previous post (5 Things You’ll Learn Studying Abroad at Hillsong College), we talked about how one of the skills you learn while living internationally is the ability to troubleshoot in unexpected situations. With a worldwide network of others who are maybe have struggled where you are now or are a bit ahead of you along the journey, you’ll be able to tap into the wisdom and life experience to help get you through any issues you face at the moment.
Our alumni worldwide are truly a collegial body, that is they see it as their responsibility to shoulder everyone’s burden together. Students who study with us know that there are scores of other graduates in their own country and abroad who from whom they can seek out and glean wisdom for whatever new challenges and opportunities they face.
“College” can mean a lot of different things in different contexts and not all “Bible Colleges” actually offer courses that are transferable or even accredited by national governments or educational organisations.
All of Hillsong College’s vocational courses (our Certificate, Diploma, and Advanced Diploma) are fully accredited with ASQA, the Australian Government agency charged with the quality and regulation of the vocational education and training sector in Australia. Because our awards are accredited, once you’ve completed your studies with us there are matriculation options for you to transfer credit to undergraduate courses both internally (so, our BTh, MA, or MTh options) in Australia as well as elsewhere worldwide. For example, we have a number of partnership agreements with universities in the United States (e.g. Dallas Baptist University, Northwest University).
Our training staff are also fully qualified in the various fields of study. We have experts in everything from theology to worship music. Our trainers are at the forefront of ministry in our various Hillsong Church locations in Australia as well as worldwide. A lot of them are graduates of Hillsong College themselves and can testify to the effectiveness of the course as well as how life changing it can be to learn, serve, and work in the context of Hillsong.
BENEFITS OF HIRING A HILLSONG COLLEGE GRADUATE
There are so many benefits of hiring a Hillsong graduate. Here we’ll talk about four. The first is that Hillsong graduates finish actually having experience doing ministry. A lot of courses can focus solely on theoretical context or knowledge. Specialised ministry courses like the MDiv or a BMin might focus more on writing essays than the actual ins and outs of practical ministry. Both our vocational courses and our degree courses offer students the chance to learn alongside serving in a local church community. Of course, they’ll receive great content and learn how to hone their critical thinking skills, broadening their knowledge base. At the same time, however, what they learn at lectures in the morning, they’ll be challenged to apply in the afternoon or on the weekend.
Servant leadership is a core part of the philosophy of Hillsong Church. So, Hillsong graduates finish their studies knowing how to serve and buy-in to the vision of local leadership. Having graduates who know how to contribute to and support leadership is something that has to be cultivated. Our graduates work with leadership in and outside of College to foster a sense of ownership over whatever area in which they serve. Not having a need of positional titles or structural authority, both of which are useful but not essential, our students understand that moving local communities forward is done through taking responsibility for the ins and outs of what’s in their hand, regardless of if it’s their “job” or not.
Because they have a strong sense of ownership, our graduates also understand the necessity to build teams and strong follow-up leadership around them. It’s not uncommon for students to begin looking for their replacement the moment they come into team leadership. Our graduates understand that having position or authority isn’t an end to itself. It’s always about building the next generation, something at the heart of Hillsong Church. Our graduates are not precious about the responsibilities they’ve been given. In the end they understand that they are replaceable and that their job is not only to execute servant leadership but to foster leaders around them who can take their place and fill in gaps where needed.
Finally, our graduates are known for their boundless creativity and innovation in solving problems and finding solutions in all areas of ministry. The diversity of Hillsong College is also its strength. Not only do we have students who come from international backgrounds, but also interdenominational backgrounds. Some come from having previous careers in other fields. Others are parents. In any case, they all learn that collaboration is the only way that local churches and ministries can move forward. This sense of collaboration encourages vitality, in thinking outside the box and thinking freshly within the box, regardless of budget or resources. Our graduates are professionals at cultivating the greatest resources the Church has: people.
WHAT IF I DON’T WANT TO GO INTO MINISTRY?
We understand that not all of our graduates will go on or even want to go on to ministry. That’s the point! Our definition of “ministry” is a lot broader than the one many Christians have (See one of our previous posts: Ministry isn’t working for a Church). Ministry is more than what happens inside of a church building. Ministry involves any place or location where Christians work and live. In short, ministry is everywhere, whether it’s being a stay-at home parent, running a hedge fund, or travelling the world taking photographs.
Our courses are designed to instil practical ministry skills that are applicable for multiple careers. For example, theology isn’t just for people who want to be pastors or professors. Theology is an essential way of being a great politician, or running an NGO, or working at a bank. Leadership, too, is something that can be transferred to a variety of different situations and contexts. Our worship students often end up working in churches, but also find careers in the mainstream music industry, composing for films or cinema, or even doing video games. The possibilities are truly endless and where our graduates go with their skills is only limited by how far they think they can travel.
Part of the mission of our church is about cultivating people to be influencers in whatever sphere they are in. It is our prayer that by the time our graduates finish their courses, they will have had enough of a taste of ministry in order to apply the skills, knowledge, and wisdom they have learned in whatever they decide to do, for the glory of God.