Jotham Mwale – SRC President

Jotham Mwale served as the GWC SRC President for 2022 / 2023, and he is a BTh third-year student. He is also a husband, father and ministry worker. I spoke to him briefly about how he managed to balance family and being the SRC president:

“I chose the SRC because it was where I saw that I would be most impactful. Being raised the way I was – serving in church, I saw it better to use my gifts to serve people. I felt that I would be of “hands-on assistance” even with all the challenges it presents sometimes – it is one of the most flexible works I have done so far. The teams I have served with have also been understanding, as they have been open to me bringing my daughter to the meetings. My wife has not been well lately, and I have had to take care of the baby when I am outside of class.

I have learned to get the most out of class due to God’s grace and the help of the people around me. I am also not shy to ask for help with my school work and assignments from people who have walked this path before me. I have also had to negotiate my grades with the understanding that I have a family and other responsibilities, but I do my best to get the most out of everything I do here. I also didn’t want to go on this journey (of studying) without them here, and it is a privilege to have them here with me.”

Talking about his time on the SRC, Jotham went on to explain:

“I have served on the SRC for two terms. Last year, I was the vice president; this year, I was the SRC President – which I found to be good and challenging.

One of the main things about being on the SRC is that you are not trying to be perfect to the students, and you always try to be on their side. However, sometimes you look like a traitor because your role is to be between the faculty and the students. I have gotten insights on some student issues from a faculty perspective, and I know the student realities, and sometimes, it was hard to be the bridge between the two. Sometimes, I have to come out in a negative light with the students because the reality of their demands doesn’t correspond with the outcomes or responses from faculty or the board.

We have also achieved some things that have been great and that have given us a sense of why we are here. For example, we managed to get student wives access to the college wi-fi, we also managed an in-person graduation last year after COVID restrictions, and we were able to support the students in many ways. We also managed to raise funds for the Student Wellness Fund. There have also been conversations where it seems that something is not heard (from the student’s perspective) or there’s nothing that can be done to change or resolve it – and this sometimes felt like you have failed the students. It has also been great to see some of the things we set out to do being done, like reducing student workload issues of student welfare and care. We may not see all the changes as some may come into effect after we are gone.

I also had personal challenges towards the end of last year when my family had to go back home. As the president of the SRC, I was faced with the challenges of being dealt with as a student, and I hope that the institution could respond and handle certain things differently as opposed to how things happened for me.

This year, I had a great team – they are very hands-on on, and it has made the load lighter for me because of them. Some have offered to attend certain meetings when I haven’t been able to due to conflicts, which has helped greatly.”

A Word of encouragement for future SRC members:

“SRC is a great place to serve. It is something you are entrusted with and a space in which you can diligently serve the students. It’s easy to see SRC as having to run from bursary work. Still, when you genuinely accept the responsibility, it’s an opportunity to serve even more than the bursary time (which we have committed to doing). If you think you are wired with leadership, organisational or administrative skills, then the SRC could be one of the places you can come to and become a blessing to the student community.

As the SRC President, I have been blessed to sit on the Student Welfare Council and faculty board meetings (as a student representative). I don’t take that lightly because few students have had such an opportunity. It is an investment beyond serving the students because you have the chance to sit in a church board or council in the future, and it has provided me with extra training that some people may not receive.”

A Personal Message from Jotham:

“GWC has been a great place for me to learn because I come from a Charismatic background, so one of the greatest blessings of being here for me has been balance, seeing things from an evangelical point of view and learning things I may not have learned had I stayed where I was. I can appreciate the good things that exist where I come from but also be able to see the ills in both places. BALANCE is the best advice I would offer any theological student. There is not one place that is the most right, and sometimes, when you lock yourself in one school of thought by being biased, you are not doing yourself or the body of Christ any favours. If you get an opportunity to minister to a different context, you may find it a struggle. Unlike someone like me, who comes from a Charismatic background and studying in a Reformed Evangelical College, I can now use the context I am from and bring more depth from the word to them. I can be relevant in this context and even challenge it on some issues. Also, please don’t allow theology to make you too proud; this is a fight that you will constantly have to fight – STAY HUMBLE.

Joe Bell