So you’re in year 10 and you’re about to choose subjects for your HSC, but you’re not sure what you want to do with your life after school – do you want to go to uni? Study arts? Do rocket science? or do a trade? Be a chippy? Be a plumber?
There are some hard decisions to make and now you have to make subject choices that (supposedly) affect the rest of your life… so what subjects are you going to choose?
If you ask your school guidance councillor, they want you to choose whatever subjects will get you the best HSC score, because that’ll make you look smart and therefore the school will look smart. But suppose you take this opportunity to choose subjects that will help you be a better bible teacher or ministry leader or full-time minister one day? Maybe these subjects wont make the best recipe for a high HSC score but they may just give you a head start in being a full-time minister or bible teacher or youth group leader…
I had no idea what I wanted to do after school, and if I had thought about it more purposefully at the time, I would’ve deliberately picked subjects that would help me understand the bible better and prepare me for a life of ministry (full-time or not).
Here are the subjects I would pick:
- Ancient History. Love it or hate it, here is a whole subject that will fill in a lot of background to the Old Testament world. When you’re teaching Isaiah as a youth leader you’ll be the first one who knows who the Assyrians are and why they were so scary. Modern History also a winner. All History is really God’s story (His-story) so learn it and use it.
- English. You’ve got to do this subject anyway, so take the time to learn about different genres and how to interpret different texts. The Bible is made up of many different genres and if you know how to spot what you’re reading you’re already more than half way there to understanding what the passage is saying. English will also give you a chance to work on your oral presentation skills.
- Maths. Back in my day maths was compulsory, but it’s still worth choosing. Leading a ministry involves a lot of admin and organising, particularly things like camps and events. Maths is a MUST for anything you do in ministry that will cost money.
- Art/Design. Leading a ministry often involves communication through leaflets, letter, and website interface. Art and design will help you arrange your material so that it’s catchy and effective in communicating it’s message.
- Computers. You probably already know how to use a computer better than the teacher in your class room, but the ability to write helpful programs, create cool animations, and even just the ability to work an excel spreadsheet will save you tons of time when leading a ministry. Just learning how to do a basic mailmerge in Word will probably save you 2 days at the start of each term!
- Industrial Technology. There’s no limit to the amount of random things you’ll need to do when leading a ministry – making banners, backdrops, props, concreting (yes concreting!) are all things which you don’t learn at theological college but need to be done when they pop up. Learn the skills in high school. At the very least you might be able to make a pencil box for your current youth minister that needs somewhere to put the youth group texts!
- Business Studies. I wish I didn’t drop out of business studies… When it comes to church accounts I’ve got no idea what’s going on… I’ve had to play catch up and learn it all on the go. Ministry may not be business, but business is a part of ministry.
- Greek. If you go to one of those schools that teaches ancient greek (classical or Koine) then do it. The New Testament is all written in greek. If you can learn what a first person present indicative active verb is while you’re in high school, you’ll be miles ahead when doing greek at bible college. At the very least, learning greek grammar will teach you how to understand English better!
- Foreign Languages. God-willing, there will be many amongst us who are called to mission beyond the borders of our own country and learning a second or third language while you are young and in school will help you bring the gospel to the nations. Even if travelling to a foreign country is not your calling, God is bringing many of the nations to the cities of the world where the gospel has been established over many centuries and this presents many opportunities to engage with foreign cultures and in foreign tongues while remaining in our own home land.
- Science. For better or for worse, science is often now declared to be the mutually exclusive alternative to Christianity, as if the two are not compatible with each other. Science, however, is born out of the Christian worldview that God has made his world with an order that is discernable and examinable by human beings. Studying a field of science will have many apologetic and evangelistic benefits in the modern secular world.
Without trying to be dismissive, I’m sure PDHPE will be useful somewhere too. Maybe PDHPE will help you understand better the controversial ethical issues of the human body, our development and sexual ethics. At the very least, perhaps it will help you know how to stay healthy when you’re meeting up with people and drinking six coffees a day!
In the end, no matter what you end up choosing or doing, God will use the personality, skills, gifts, and experiences he gives you so that you will be his faithful servant, but these are subjects I think will be of good use for leading a christian ministry.