On Friday 29th July, the Salvation Army’s Youth ministry ALOVE has hosted a graduation ceremony for students of ALOVE’s Timothy and Bursary Programme. Dozens of fresh young disciples of Christ are born after these intensive year-long discipleship training programmes, giving new hope to the future of youth ministry in UK.
The ceremony was held in the Salvation Army’s Training College in South East London. Salvation Army’s Territorial Commissioner Shaw Clifton, Chief Secretary Vic Poke and Lieutenant Colonel Keith Burridge were invited to the special occasion. Steve Coles, Carrie Cummings and Richard Proctor, who coordinate the programmes, have hosted the ceremony.
The Territorial Commissioner Shaw Clifton, the Chief Secretary Vic Poke and Lieutenant Colonel Keith Burridge presented the graduation certificates to all students.
There were 18 graduates from the Timothy Programme and 7 graduates from the Bursary Programme this year.
Commissioner Clifton encouraged all the graduates, "We are proud of you and thank God for you all. You’ve been responsive to him and we praise him for that. We affirm and recognise you tonight as brothers and sisters of Christ."
With reference to the message in the Book of John Chapter 12, the Territorial Commander noted the significance of graduation is to be "lifted up" for a purpose. He said, "We want to lift you up tonight; so that you can lift up Jesus."
The graduation evening also celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Timothy Programme. The Timothy Programme is inspired by the mentoring relationship of the Apostle Paul and Timothy. It aims to equip the young disciples of Jesus in this era, so that they can be mobilised to engage in church planting, community work, youth work, student ministry, worship leading, children’s work and many others, according to their individual gifts and interests.
The training programme lasts for the whole year focusing on four areas: theology, personal development, Christian lifestyle and mission. Anyone aged between 18 and 30, who is committed to Jesus and actively engaged in church life are qualified for the programme.
In the last 15 years, the Timothy Programme has trained 125 people. 12 Timothies have become Salvation Army officers and 40 Timothies are now employed in full-time ministry with the Salvation Army. Some other 30 Timothies have continued further theological study or discipleship and mission programmes.
Ben Parker, who has graduated from the Timothy Programme, shared how he has been working at Nottingham Arnold Salvation Army’s schools inclusion programmes.
Kerrie Wilson, also a Timothy Graduate shared how she came to understand more deeply the Biblical description of the church as a "body", where all parts are equally important through her cross-cultural overseas experience.
The bursary programme is a 2-year programme which helps those who are called to youth work to earn formal qualification in the field. The key aim is to nurture and develop the skills of young people across the UK through a programme of training and youth work experience based in a Salvation Army placement.
During the two years, students are trained to Diploma of Higher Education level, achieving the nationally recognised JNC standard for youth work in the UK. Funding will be provided for college fees, and also a contribution to accommodation and an allowance for the student.
Andrew Barkers, a Bursary Graduate testified the programme, "It’s helped us be the best youth workers we can be, to serve God and to serve others."
[Source: ALOVE] The Salvation Army for a new generation; Please click here for more information