It has been established that the Chinese speaking Church has become one of the fastest growing churches in Australia. But as far back as the 1990s, it largely went unnoticed. It was seen as serving a limited function in helping a non-English speaking minority group find a home. But once the foundation was set in place, it grew into a formidable people movement. The Chinese Department at MST (MSTC) has played a great part in this birthing process and is humbled by the way the Lord has used it to establish His house with a Chinese distinctive in Australia.
According to Chinese ethos, a person’s worth is not measured by one’s wealth or intellect, but by one’s wisdom. The same is also true of the Christian ethos. The study of theology is the gaining of wisdom from above and percolating that wisdom into service for the Lord. MSTC has always prided itself on not forgetting that “By wisdom a house is built…”
“According to Chinese ethos, a person’s worth is not measured by one’s wealth or intellect, but by one’s wisdom.”
By the 1990’s, there were more than 200 Chinese Christian congregations established in Australia of various denominational persuasions, or with some being independent. 60 of these were based in Victoria alone. The acute problem of inadequate pastoral care emerged as the biggest challenge to these fledgling Churches. Serious thought was given to set up a uniquely Chinese Australian Theological Education to train local ministers
for the local congregations. Consequently MSTC was birthed and has established itself not only as the first but also the preeminent centre in Australia providing Chinese theological training and engaging in solid theological reflection and research. It has modelled cooperation with the support of many churches.
After the first graduation of 14 students in 1997, the Chinese Churches absorbed almost all our graduates to their pastoral teams, thus starting a firm relationship in “supply and demand”. Since then we have had more than 250 graduates, serving and establishing new evangelistic centres throughout Australia. In Melbourne alone, more than two-thirds of the Chinese Churches have our graduates in their pastoral team!
MSTC has in recent years expanded its reach into Asia. Not only are more and more overseas students enrolled yearly into our Wantirna campus, but we also partner with Hong Kong’s Christian Ministry Institute to teach a Master of Divinity program there. This has greatly widened the ministry of MSTC.
It has been nearly 25 years since the establishment of MSTC. Little did we realise then that it would grow into a uniquely Chinese legend in theological education, and all would proclaim with the Psalmist: “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”