Each year the students attending the Reformed Theological College, Belfast are required to preach before the College Committee. Texts are assigned by a member of the teaching staff a few weeks in advance. For the past 15 years, on these occasions, the students have had the privilege to preach before members of the church at locations throughout the 4 Presbyteries, with the Committee also being attendance. Throughout the years these meetings have been very well attended and a source of much blessing.
This year the students were due to preach in Ballyclabber RPC (6th January) and Dromara RPC (7th January) but owing to the escalating spread of the Corona virus at the beginning of 2021 these meetings had to be postponed.
The ‘student preaching’ eventually took place on Wednesday morning 24th February in Trinity RPC. Paul Flynn preached from 2 Peter 3:10-13 on the 2nd Coming of Christ; Paul Wallace preached from 1 Corinthians 14:5-12 on the importance of edification in public worship, and John Coulter preached from 2 Samuel 14:13, 14 about the means devised by God to restore the ‘banished’.
It was morning of blessing and encouragement for the Committee and the few friends who were in attendance. Other members of the church and interested friends were able to join by livestream.
The Committee reconvened by Zoom the next afternoon to give their evaluation and critique of the sermons. The assessment of the preaching was communicated to the students by the Professor of Pastoral Theology during Homiletics class on Friday 5th March. The comments were mostly positive although each student was made aware of how aspects of their preaching could be improved.
Prof Robert McCollum, Recently retired as Pastor of Lisburn RPCI, and serving Professor at the Reformed Theological College in Belfast.