Happy new year?


Happy New Year?

What would make 2019 a happy year for you?

Happiness has recently become a concept to be studied and there are shelves of books on the subject in our bookstores. Few would deny that human happiness depends, after our basic needs are met, on our relationships, our health (mental and physical) and our sense of significance.

For Christians, these are all trumped by our relationship with God and his gifts of grace, so much so that preachers often distinguish between Christian joy and human happiness – although those who have been through times of human unhappiness know it is a complicated relationship.

But will you be happy in your job as a theological educator in 2019? This is how I see it;

I have often spoken in this blog on theological education as ministry, the ministry of teaching. All ministry looks two ways. It looks to God as the one who calls us into ministry in order to please Him, and it looks to the people we minister to, in order to bless them. Happiness in theological education then is to work with a sense of fulfilling your calling on the one hand and knowing you are blessing and developing your students on the other.

If you cannot fulfil your calling or bless your students, I do not see how you can be happy. If you can know you are working out your calling and blessing your students, then I do not see how you cannot be happy in teaching. This must surely be true even if there is unhappiness elsewhere in your life, or even in your college or seminary with problems, tensions and worries which sometimes come in the best of institutions. How often many of us have experienced the classroom or the supervision, where we feel fulfilled and useful, as a happy oasis in difficult times.

Leaders of theological education institutions have a complicated and difficult job to do but no aspect of their job is more important than ensuring that their teachers are able to fulfil their own personal calling as Christian teachers and able to help their students to develop in their faith, their understanding and their usefulness. We will not have happy staff in 2019 without that

I hope all my readers have a very happy new year.

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One Comment on “Happy new year?”

  1. Happy new year to you and your family from the McGraths!

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