Announcing Crosslands research fellowships

It’s easy to persuade Christians in the UK that we need more pastors to reach more people in our nation with the good news of Jesus. But the need for more academic theologians is perhaps harder to contend for. In a context where theological education is sometimes seen as a luxury, we are seeing more and more evidence that the church in the UK needs to encourage and nurture the next generation of pastor-theologians. For those in ministry to be equipped with the theological depth needed to minister for Christ in a complex and suffering world, the church needs more options for those wanting to study in this way.

To this end we have created Crosslands research fellowships. Knowing that this could only ever be a part of the solution to the problem we have laid out, we pray that God will use Crosslands research fellowships to equip the church and grow God’s kingdom. They will provide a co-ordinated wrap-around programme to encourage PhD students in their studies, providing a forum for discussion and dissemination of research, with a specific focus on how their research will serve theological education in the church and its mission.

Last week at our annual Winter Conference we were delighted to present and interview our first two Crosslands Research Fellows, James Morrison and Nathan Weston.

James is an Assistant Pastor at Kensington Baptist Church in Bristol, UK having just graduated from the Crosslands Seminary programme. He is currently studying for a PhD part-time with Union Theological College in Belfast, on the life and thought of Puritan Pastor and scholar Stephen Charnock, under the supervision of Rev Dr Martyn Cowan. Nathan has been Associate Pastor of Moorlands Church in Lancaster since 2013. He is studying part-time at Highland Theological College on the books of Proverbs under the supervision of Dr Jamie Grant.

Part of our vision for our Crosslands Research Fellows is that they will contribute to our training programmes, putting their learning to use in service of others. Both James and Nathan have already been involved through Crosslands in this mission to equip the church. James is a Seminary tutor and is writing a regular feature on this PhD study journey, as part of our ‘For Life’ series. Nathan wrote our Crosslands Foundation course on Christian Ethics and in March will teach short Forum course Biblical Ethics in the Digital Age (please sign up if you are interested).

It’s been great to witness James’ and Nathan’s passion for Christ, for study, and for the local church. What’s particularly encouraging is the ongoing encouragement and support they have received from their churches to pursue doctoral study. For the sake of the health of the UK church, we need more students like James and Nathan, and more churches like theirs who see the need for pastor-theologians. Please pray for them in their studies, in their ministry positions, and in their role as Crosslands Research Fellows.

L, James Morrison; R, Nathan Weston