It’s good to be back from the seminary in Seremban. And I feel a great sense of joy and satisfaction for completing my maiden course on Spiritual Formation & Discipleship (with an emphasis on Youth Ministry).
Part of the joy maybe is because I was part of the group that gave input in designing the overall course anyway, and now having a chance to teach and facilitate one of the courses is pretty cool! 🙂 But then again, I went through a load of stress in preparing the course (how ironic since I wanted to be in a more “contemplative” mode!) Of course, having Sherman Kuek as co-lecturer at least for 2 sessions out of the 15 sessions was a great help. All 15 sessions of around 2hour sessions in four days! Thanks bro! Thank God for energy (and some coffee)!
Sherman did the sessions where they had “theological perspectives” behind the title *smile*. I did the rest … it was great to sit in his sessions and see him in action. I had lots of fun becoming a kind of “conversation partner” and like blogging chip in comments here and there. So, Sherman first “blogged” his lectures before the students and I “commented” .. I liked that.
I enjoyed teaching too … and listening to the students as the were many times where we had very “conversational” moments.
The students were an interesting bunch all 9 of them! Add me that would be 10 right? Who says the course lecturer or facilitator isn’t one of the students? 🙂 1 baptist, 1 Presbyterian, 1 independent Charismatic, 2 Anglicans, 3 Methodists … 2 men and the rest women.
There was a lot of good interactions, we practiced Lectio Divina and some “Examen” exercises (tweaked and contextualized), there was silence and songs, times of prayer and sharing. Lots of laughter, and some tears. Right from the start, this was not just knowing about “Spiritual formation”. The course it self was meant to model it or create space and an environment for “Spiritual formation” to take place more consciously.
In that context we then covered a wide range of topics from theological-biblical-historical perspectives, to spiritual disciplines/practices, mentoring/spiritual friendships, community/belonging/small groups, intergenerational perspectives, the place of technology, some thoughts on change, etc.
One of the highlights which was mentioned today by one of the students was we had two youth Ben and Joan come for one of the sessions and they were “interviewed” by me so we could all see and hear what “spiritual formation and discipleship” meant for them. Here’s an except from Ben post A visit to Seremban (Thanks Ben for the photos too!):
“Joan and I travelled down to Seremban yesterday on Sivin’s request, to help with the week long course he’s giving on Spiritual Formation and Discipleship in Youth Ministry.
It was a good experience; we were ‘interviewed’ by Sivin, and later fielded questions from his students. Along the way we talked about the impact and influence of d’NA, our experiences in church and the school Christian Fellowship, and the roles played by mentors, parents and friends in our walk with God.
Just before leaving, we popped by the STM library. It’s quite a nice place, and we noticed that its copy of Eugene Peterson’s The Message desperately wanted wear. Looks like the translation isn’t a hot reference source for seminarians!
None of the following is true, although it was mentioned during our session: Mr Sherman Kuek lectures in the B.Th. (Bachelor of The Heresy) course at STM, and is willing to publish the entries on TMsquared via his company, SK Publications. …”
Some other highlights outside of the classroom were our lunches and dinners together (I think I should include our tea breaks too). A lot of our conversations spilled over into our times around the meal table. Insights and questions raised from the course as well as from our lives so easily flowed in and out of our “table talks” which was very rewarding for me.
Another highlight was the two journeys back home to KL that I took. The first was in one of the students car where we again continued a variety of topics through our drive back on the highway, and in later there was a time where one shared a slice of life during a train ride back with me. The second journey home which was today where I had the chance of having another student as a fellow passanger as I drove back and sent him to the bus stop. And it’s amazing how small this world is and some names were mention whom I knew, and that led to us to talk about the nature of learning, theology, and teaching.
So all in all … yes, it was stressful especially being my time teaching a full course in seminary (with Sherman’s help of course), yes, it was challenging and many a times I wondered whether I offered enough for the students or whether there was enough content. I was encouraged through the feedback, the “What” I gave was appreciated and the “How” I presented it was accessible which was a great relief 🙂
What was important at the end is we “made space for not just learning but also for the Spirit to breath upon us”! I felt very much part of the process.
So will I take on another course come day and land up back in Seremban not just to borrow books from the Library or pay fines, or hang out with some of the lecturers, or check on our our denomination students are doing, etc?
Who knows? For now … Phase 1 and phase 2 of the “crazy weeks” are over .. phase 3 is coming in 24 hours time, and somehow, I think I missed a phase 4.
“Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me!”