Malyon Update November 2017

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November Article:

My Prayer of Thanks for 16 Years as Malyon Principal
– By John Sweetman

Well it’s 16 years, Lord, since I sat waiting for the phone call to say whether the QB Assembly had accepted me as the new Principal of QBCM (as Malyon was then known). When I heard that the vote was 67% (I needed the minimum of a 2/3 majority), I was immediately sure that this was your call for the next season. You would only have had to change one person’s mind and I would not have been accepted. You had made your will clear to me. There was no turning back despite my trepidation.

You didn’t make it easy for me in those early years. While the College had some very strong roots, it was struggling financially and I had so much to learn about leading an academic, ministry institution. You were always close and you helped me, but it was slow and often difficult as we tried to reduce expenditure and strengthen our ministry.

I remember making a decision about whether someone who was not behaving well (not a student) should stay living on campus and thinking, “Lord I ‘m not made for this calling.” But you provided for us, kept us solvent, helped us make wise decisions, and actually developed our ministry despite plateaued enrolments. It was a challenging but growing time for me. I needed you so much and you were there.

Then came relocation with a new campus and a new name (Malyon). I was so thankful that you provided us with a completely refurbished building that was ideal for our needs. While I missed the beautiful rural setting of Brookfield, the new campus was more central, closer to transport, and airconditioned! No more humid summer afternoons trying desperately to keep students awake after lunch. We could focus on teaching not property maintenance. And we could work more closely with other Qld Baptist groups. You were gracious in giving me a fresh start only three years into my term as Principal.

Thanks too for helping us get the building right. I’m no architect, but with the guidance of Kerry, we made the right design decisions and still have a very functional campus. There were many other decisions you helped us get right too like the new vision, the move to distance education, the choosing of new faculty, the establishment of a Council, the development of our Centres, and the growth of our awards. It required patience that doesn’t come naturally to me, but you guided us as we put so much in place that was needed. I worried lots (remember those numerous 3.00am mornings we shared together), but I never doubted your call or your goodness.

Then came the boom. New students started flooding into Malyon. These were exciting times as we figured out how to cater for a larger student body. We were so thankful for your grace, because we never did really work out the reasons for the sudden growth. It just felt like you were smiling on us. We put on new faculty and built more offices. They were stretching but fun times as we enjoyed your blessing and knuckled down to an increased workload. I felt like I had learned what it meant to be a Principal. I sensed real synergy in our growing team.

Of course, as you clearly indicate in your Word, seasons keep changing. The flood of new students died down to a more manageable flow, with an increase in part-timers, online students and shorter courses. My concerns resurfaced. We had a large faculty. We offered a wide range of awards and subjects. Was all this sustainable? You constantly encouraged me and eventually freed me from my fear. Thankyou Lord.

Then when I thought that I was going to be Malyon Principal forever, you said, “Well done” and gave me permission to have a break and move on to a new season. So now I say goodbye to a wonderful and rewarding ministry and get ready for what you have in store next.

I would like to thank you for some special people who have made the last sixteen years so fulfilling:

  • Thanks for the 40 or so team members that I have had the privilege of leading – faculty, staff, Centre directors, even wonderful volunteers. You have called each of these people to Malyon, and they have served graciously and effectively. It’s been so good to work with friends who love you. Thanks for the way you have enabled us to lay down our lives together in ministry.
  • Thanks for the many hundreds of students who we have had the honour to teach and influence over 16 years. It’s been such a privilege to invest in the lives of those who want to know you better and will sacrifice significantly for the opportunity. They have challenged and encouraged me Lord. I will miss them, but I know that their kingdom influence will continue to grow.
  • Thanks for the many supporters who have guided our decisions, prayed for us, and financially supported our visions. Where would we be without our Council members, intercessors and donors? Thanks for this huge backing Lord. It has meant so much.
  • Thanks for my family who have loved me, supported me, prayed for me, and allowed me the freedom to pursue your call. It has been so special to have at least three family members sitting in my classes over the last few years. You have given me a great family.
  • Thanks for my mentors who have believed in me, prayed with me, guided me, challenged me and sustained me.

The last sixteen years of ministry has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride Father. But now I can look back and appreciate all you have done. It has been a privilege following your call and seeing you work in power. Ultimately all good things come from your hand. Malyon has been your work and I thank you so much for giving me a part in it.