Following a one-year break (and one year of online school), City Harvest Church’s School of Theology will reopen next year with a refreshed, updated curriculum, new lecturers, and an exciting development in the pipeline. If you have yet to attend SOT, here’s what’s in store for you!
City Harvest School of Theology hit the pause button when Covid-19 washed up on our shores in early 2020. During the first year as the nation battled the virus, SOT began its lessons on campus, applying safe-distancing measures, but as the pandemic grew, lessons went completely online as stricter measures were set in place by the Ministry of Health. The staff and students of SOT2020 adapted like champions and made the most of the unique situation.
After the graduation of the 2020 cohort, the SOT team assessed the situation and decided that rather than holding classes online, which did not offer students all the richness of a typical SOT experience, it was best to pause any further intakes until the worst of Covid had passed and life resumed.
Assistant manager at SOT, Dorcas Xu, 40, explains, “SOT places a fair bit of emphasis on practical ministry. With online lessons, it is tricky to conduct practical tests such as homiletics, mock cell group meeting, ministry practicum and mission trips. These are integral to our curriculum, hence the decision was made to go on a hiatus till it was safe to resume lessons on-site.”
Cindy Ng, 49, manager of SOT gives further insight into the ecosystem of the Bible school. “Enrolling into SOT is more than just acquiring Bible knowledge—it is an experience. The SOT community bonds through a shared experience of student life, discipleship and daily spiritual encounters throughout the seven-month course. If we had run the course online this past year, the students would have missed out these intrinsic elements that are so distinctive of SOT.”
EXPECT AN UPDATED SOT EXPERIENCE
Even without its yearly course running, the SOT team was kept busy with new projects and a curriculum revamp. The SOT Alumni Portal was launched in August 2021 and has 1,580 subscribers to date. Through the portal, SOT alumni from the school’s 27 past cohorts are able to write in to share praise reports and seek prayer for ministry. This two-way communication facilitates discipleship and spiritual mentorship between the alumni and CHC’s pastoral team.
“We’ve revamped our curriculum to ensure our notes are updated and relevant,” describes Cindy. “We have also digitalised our operations, and streamlined our processes so we can be more efficient and productive when school starts next year.”
When SOT resumes its course in 2023, students can look forward to familiar faces as well as new faces among the lecturers, ensuring diversity in style, perspective and experiences. The curriculum has also been revised and updated, to include an introduction to fresh topics such as Protestantism, Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism.
This is in addition to SOT’s existing curriculum which covers topics like Spiritual Warfare, Home Cell Group Leadership (which includes a segment on praise and worship), Homiletics (the art of preaching), History of Christianity, Theology (the study of God), Christology (the study of Christ), and the all-time favourite of almost every SOT student—Inner Healing and Deliverance with Dr Mike Connell, the co-founding pastor of Bay City Church, New Zealand.
Year after year, many of City Harvest Church’s congregational members take time off their work to sign up for SOT. Students who are waiting to enrol into the local universities typically have six months of waiting time and many of them take the opportunity to sign up for SOT in the interim period. Cell group leaders and ministry leaders who run the operations of the church have gone through the Bible school.
SOT is quintessentially the “rite of passage” for members in CHC who want to grow in their understanding of Biblical truths and to strengthen the foundation of their faith. Christians must know why they believe what they believe, so SOT offers believers a comprehensive inquiry into the history, the essence, the truths and the power of the faith.
The restarting of the SOT course is not the only new thing happening—Cindy hints at another exciting new development in the pipeline. “Our alumni are important to us. So we’re constantly thinking how we can ensure that the SOT journey keeps going on for them. Apart from our alumni courses run twice a year, where we invite them back to join us for refresher courses, we are planning for the option of further studies through a collaboration with Vanguard University in the US. Stay tuned for more information!”
If you still have any doubts as to whether to sign up for SOT, academic dean Pastor Tan Kim Hock has this to say: “Over the past 29 years, SOT has trained and equipped more 8,100 students from 41 countries, of whom some are serving in full time ministry, while others have become effective marketplace leaders. The pursuit of God is the whole purpose of life, and therefore the knowledge of God should be one of our greatest pursuits. With better clarity of our spiritual roots as Pentecostals, I’m certain SOT2023, with its revamped modules, will enrich a believer’s personal walk, as well as propel the individual towards God’s calling and purpose.”
Enrolment for School of Theology 2023 is now open! Click to register
Prep Course (online): 6 – 22 Feb 2023