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Bible Colleges - February 2012

There’s nothing like putting what you’ve learnt into practice, as LUKE MAXTED, a London School of Theology (LST) student, discovered when he was sent on a work placement

I hadn't dreamt that my time at LST would have me sitting in the House of Lords, nor in board meetings of international companies.

A week spent shadowing Lord Michael Hastings CBE (himself a LST graduate) was a fantastic opportunity arranged for me by the college’s Training Unit.

In my Theology course I had just finished three core modules: Encountering God and Neighbour, The Life of the Church in Context and The Ministry and Teaching of Jesus.

These challenged me deeply about my responsibility as a Christian living in a diverse city like London.

Reading Amos alongside Luke’s Gospel had raised stark questions of justice and care, adding this to grappling with a theology of hospitality; it had become a life-changing year of study.

The placement was a key part of my experience. Lord Hastings is Global Head of Citizenship and Diversity at KPMG [a network providing audit, tax and advisory services].

He devotes much of his time in that role to helping his clients (most of them business giants) to organise their social responsibility programmes.

I shadowed him as he attended meetings and debates at the House of Lords, a conference at Chatham House and launch events for charitable initiatives across London.

The placement allowed me the time to reflect on what I had learnt in the lecture room and see the potential scope for applying those principles in the real world.

I was given the chance to learn from a Christian who is a leader in the world of secular charitable work, to talk to him about the difficulties of acting out the Gospel message in the public arena.

Both LST and Lord Hastings gave me a valuable chance to see the implications of my study and to wrestle with the broad themes of theology in a very practical way.

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