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Jessica Ragg

2010-2012 / Bachelor of Ministries (Henderson Campus)

I transitioned to Laidlaw College having studied at Level 4 and 5 in Ministry elsewhere – and I'll be honest, I was warned off going! From a church tradition that has less of an emphasis on theological knowledge and formal training, I suppose some well-meaning people in my life were concerned that maybe it wasn't the right choice. However, I loved my time at Laidlaw.

For me, the ability to rub up alongside others of the Christian faith, who often held different perspectives than me, or had different spiritual practices than the liturgy I was familiar with, was awesome. It was a time of perpetual discussion (some of that discussion got pretty heated in lectures - although, let's be honest, that's very much the norm!), constant learning and challenging what I knew and experienced of my faith and relationship with God, with a quiet challenge to explore.

In my final year I only had two papers to do to complete my degree; one was a core paper in the second semester, and so I figured I'd challenge myself and give a dissertation a go as my other paper. This turned out to be absolutely life changing. I undertook a research study on understanding the way that we communicate the concept of salvation, primarily within the context of Pentecostal Youth Ministry. This at times got me asking awkward questions, hearing awkward answers, and long story short led me to realise how significant narrative is in our understanding of self, others, and God.

Spurred on by my research, I formed a small business once I left Laidlaw, where I created a curriculum that taught creative writing in schools, with an intentional look at what we could apply about 'writing good stories' to 'living' good stories. Since then, I've had the privilege of teaching hundreds of young people of all different ages in mostly secular schools, to look at the metanarrative of their lives, their beliefs, to think of others… all the things I learnt were significant in my research paper.

I never would have even started down this road if I had not been in the environment of Laidlaw College.

Since having my daughter I’ve taken a bit of a break from teaching. I’m now applying all of the pastoral tips I learnt in my ministry degree to customer relationship management in the commercial air conditioning industry – living the dream. So, I’m mumming and working, although I do have the opportunity to minister occasionally at different churches, which I really appreciate and enjoy. I also still like to write and share things from time to time.

I’m grateful for a vibrant and diverse body of Christ, where I genuinely believe we can take a perpetual posture of exploration and curiosity of who we know God to be, how we are in relationship with him, and what the fruit of that relationship looks like in our lives.

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