Hold Your Plans Loosely: Surprising Reflections From Theological College

by Ikho Poswayo

Tell us a little about yourself?

I was born and raised in the Eastern Cape. In 2008 I moved to Gauteng to study at the University of Johannesburg. That’s where I came to faith through the ministry of Campus Outreach. After my Honours in Financial Management, I moved to Cape Town to work in the finance department of an oil company. After working there for five years, I started my undergraduate degree at GWC.

When you first started your undergraduate at GWC, what were your reasons?

I had come to college for the Higher Certificate, which was meant to be just one year. I’d initially come because I wanted to grow in my faith and be better equipped in handling the Bible. I’d thought that I’d go back to corporate and be able to counsel colleagues biblically, with more confidence than I had before college. But during that year, I had so much joy in learning and growing. I wanted to learn more. More than that, I decided to come back for the Bachelor of Theology degree. Because I had the conviction that Biblical Counselling was an area I would love to be used in by God on a full-time basis, rather than a side thing I did informally with work colleagues, I knew that I would need to have solid doctrine as a foundation for further studies in Counselling. So I came back for the BTh.

Was your motivation for doing postgraduate studies different?

Honestly, while I’d heard good reasons for doing postgraduate studies, my personal motivation was that it was the door God opened for me. I learned that God will sometimes use our circumstances to direct the paths our lives take. He directed me that way. But I didn’t know what he was doing. And I battled a lot with that in the first couple of months of my postgraduate degree.

How has studying prepared and equipped you for ministry in the future?

I have been given valuable tools for studying God’s word, learning how to engage critically with different interpretations and applications of it. But beyond the technicalities, my time studying theology has been a time of really wrestling with what I believe and how it applies to ordinary life. This bridging of the gap between knowledge and life application is something that is incredibly important in ministry, especially the field I’m interested in.

What would you say to yourself (or someone with a similar vision) entering theological training?

Be prepared to be stretched both inside and outside the classroom. It’s not a walk in the park. Theological training has been the hardest of all the studying I have done. And that’s because the things you will learn are not things you can just park aside and move on as you were. What makes it hard is the fact that it works both mind and heart. But it is worth it! I’ve already started to see how God is using my training for his purposes, and I know that there’s more to come. Enter with humility and an open mind so that your plans regarding how you will go on to use the training might change, according to God’s plans.