Thank you for helping improve College for future students

Do you remember being forced to do critical reflections as a student? How you hated doing it but over time you’ve realised it’s a really helpful way to learn and grow. Well, on the faculty we try to practice critical reflection too, so the College can best play its part in helping to build God’s kingdom among youth and children.

Sending out a recent graduate survey was part of the college’s commitment to growing as a learning community of God’s people for the benefit of current and future students.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey. As we read through your feedback, we noticed many common themes, and we’re excited to share these with you now.

The importance of community

One of the questions in the survey was, ‘What was the highlight of college for you?’ Again and again, you answered, ‘Community’.

You said you cherished the network of relationships you built at College and also on Tour. You valued learning and growing together, with faculty who were invested in their students’ lives. You felt College was a place you could escape from the pressures of ministry and reflect as part of a supportive community. You highly rated Sunday nights at the old Loftus campus as a time you could talk to other students, play games or pull out the guitar and sing.

A theological education that is culturally engaged

Many graduates also said Youthworks College was a great place to start building a foundational theological education. It’s where you learned how to dig into God’s word, exegete the passage, and integrate theology with the practice of youth and children’s ministry. You felt the theological education at Youthworks wasn’t just head knowledge but was also formational, as you grew in your spiritual maturity and ability to serve.

You also mentioned that your study at Youthworks was not disconnected from the real world, as you were taught how to look at culture, not just resist it. Even those who didn’t go into full-time ministry after College said they appreciated how Youthworks has helped them to do ministry wherever they are.

The move to Newtown

Some of you used the survey to express your sadness about the College’s move to Newtown and your concern that it might harm the community that was so important to you at Loftus. Others said they thought the new proximity to Moore College would ultimately enhance the college’s reputation in the eyes of potential employers.

The shift to Newtown has inevitably meant that the community feel of Loftus has changed and the College has become more of a commuter college. That said, the community is a function of people as much as it is of place and each year group has its own way of growing together, and we are working at doing community in new circumstances. Our students have the use of the Moore College library. We join with their students for lunch, bringing our own brand of exuberance to the dining room.

The danger of burn-out

Many of you said you were concerned about students and graduates burning out and not being well supervised. This is an area of concern for the faculty as well. You suggested the College connect with more Senior Ministers to encourage them to better care for their teams.  

Further training

Some graduates expressed their desire for Youthworks to offer bachelor degrees or Master’s level training in order to make you more employable. We are continuing to explore the possibility of offering post-graduate courses in the future.  

Better marketing

Many of you suggested more resources need to be directed towards marketing the college. We agree and have been working very hard this year, attending conferences and improving our social media engagement with potential future students.

Graduate networks

Finally, many of you said you’d like to catch up with other Youthworks graduates to create more supportive ministry networks. We were particularly glad to receive this feedback because we have begun work to build graduate engagement through Facebook, alumni e-news, and network dinners.

Thank you for your informative and insightful feedback to help improve College for future students. As you know, critical reflection is a continual process, so we welcome your feedback anytime.

Cal Harmer