If you could peel back the walls of St. Andrew’s, you would see hundreds of prayers and Bible verses written on the metal framing. These words are a lasting testimony to our faith in the Living God – what he has done and what we believe he will do in the future through our congregation. Perhaps you wrote one of these prayers.
On the third floor, where we have the offices for the Ridley Institute, I wrote a reference to Philippians 1:25 – “for your progress and joy in the faith.” These words express my heart’s desire for Ridley: to help you make progress, and deepen your joy, in the Christian faith. Disciples are meant to grow – not simply in head knowledge, but in spiritual maturity and joy. This is why Ridley exists.
The Ridley Institute began as the St. Andrew’s School of Theology in 2009 and was renamed “The Ridley Institute” in the Spring of 2012. The Institute’s namesake is the 16th century English Reformer and martyred Bishop of London, Nicholas Ridley, who contended for the biblical faith. From its inception, The Ridley Institute has taught lay-level classes in Bible and theology. These classes are designed for you – to equip and train you in the Christian faith.
While we also have online programs for seminary training, the classes taught at St. Andrew’s are for the everyday disciple. Previously, we offered classes twice a year on a Tuesday evening. But this year we have expanded our offerings – we will teach a six-week class in the fall, winter, and spring. Additionally, we have special weekend events and seminars planned for the coming year. For those in need of childcare, or if you cannot make Tuesday evenings work, we plan to offer at least one course on a Sunday.
A typical Ridley class involves not only teaching but food and fellowship. Over the years, we have found that transformation happens not simply from pulpit to pew, but around tables. Designed as a follow-up to Alpha, Ridley participants share a meal together, listen to a talk, and then engage in group discussion. Many life groups find taking a Ridley course together not only strengthens their relationships but also serves as a catalyst for further growth and invigorating discussion.
The Core Courses
This coming ministry year, we will offer three of our six core courses. In the fall, I will teach a class called I Believe: An Introduction to Theology. In this class we will engage the Apostles and Nicene Creeds as a doorway into the fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith. In the winter, we will offer a class on how to study the Bible. In the spring, we will turn our attention to how a Christian ethically engages our world through a study of the Ten Commandments. The remaining three core courses will be taught the following year – Meeting Jesus in the Gospels, The Lord’s Prayer, and Apologetics and Evangelism. These six courses make up the core curriculum of Ridley.
For students who have already taken one of these courses, or would like to go even deeper, elective courses will also be offered each year, as well as our weekend intensives. Our first intensive in this ministry year is Essentials of Anglican Theology being taught next Friday and Saturday by Sam Fornecker and me.
As you serve and minister this coming year, both inside and outside the church, I hope a Ridley class will be a great benefit for “your progress and joy in the faith.” If you have any questions, or would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Joyfully in Christ,