Learners of all ages at SBC

At the Scottish Baptist College (SBC) we value the diversity of our community as each year mixes together learners of all ages. The inter-generationality helps create classrooms where older learners bring wisdom and younger learners bring new perspectives – and vice versa! Moreover, the spread of generations helps us to be a community where everyone can find their place whatever their age or stage. The experiences of two of our students – Mark Whitelaw and Nicola Sutherland – will shed light on the generations at SBC.

Mark, can you tell us a little about your background and why you are at SBC?

I grew up in Newton Mearns and then moved to East Kilbride a few years ago. I go to East Mains Baptist Church and I am involved in the youth ministry. I actually studied 3 years of Sports Coaching before coming to SBC. At the end of High School I began to feel a call to working with youth. I began to think instantly about youth and sport. So I went and studied sports for 3 years but as soon as the lecturer asked us to think about what we were passionate about for our dissertation, I realised that I wasn’t passionate about sport. I was passionate about what I was involved in at church with the youth. So I prayed about it and spoke to a few trusted people and I made the switch to Theology. I hope to keep learning more and more and to just gain a deeper understanding of who God is and be able to put that learning into practice as I work with youth.

You’ve got a lot of energy and passion, particularly for young people – what are you ultimately hoping that you will do as you go through and complete your time at SBC?

I absolutely love youth! They are awesome! I hope to be a youth worker/pastor. I know this course is helping prepare me for this, as did the sports course (working with non-Christian youth). I always aim to be intentional with the youth that I work with and point them to Jesus constantly.

What’s been your highlights of College life?

Lunches…just kidding (although they are great!) I have loved just learning more and being in a community of people who just love God and want to learn more too. I also love being able to go to the CU in the Uni, allowing me to chat to many non-Christian people who I wouldn’t get the chance to chat to in my course. I love it here.

Nicola, tell us a little about your background – where did you grow up and what were you involved in before coming to SBC?

I grew up in Leith (Edinburgh), but I now live on the Isle of Bute. Before deciding to study at SBC I had a barber shop and I was (and still am) a full-time, single mother to two young children in primary school.

 You’ve come to SBC after a while away from study, what led you to pursue ministry training and what do you ultimately hope to do post-College?

I came to SBC at 43. I did not finish school so I have no standard grades or Highers. When I worked as a barber I was happy, but incomplete. I had a real desire to work to strengthen God’s kingdom and truly give Him all my life, so one day I just stopped working.  Three months later and after lots of prayer with my pastor and my church, I went to an Open Day at the College with my pastor (I was not brave enough to go alone). 

Post-College I do not know yet, I am still trying to discern.  I do know since making the decision to study, I feel complete and that I am on the right path.

What have been the challenges, frustrations, highlights, and light-bulb moments of training for ministry / at College?

The main challenge for me was learning to study as without completing school, I had never learned to study properly. 

I am delighted when I pass each paper and I get excited at the start of each module and I feel each module is better than the last.  My faith has grown as have I. My highlight is being part of the SBC family. Staff and fellow students, past and present, feel like family and the support network is like something I have never witnessed, let alone received. 

Our thanks go to Mark and Nicola – we love having you at SBC! If you’re interested in being part of the SBC family and joining the learning community, why not come along to our Open Day on March 12th – or if you can’t make it, then contact graham.meiklejohn@uws.ac.uk to arrange a time to visit.