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Oak Hill

Sending Steve and Erin Sammons to Bible College

Paul writes in 2 Timothy: 'And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.' (2 Timothy 2:2). Paul passed on the gospel baton to Timothy and was instructing Timothy to pass on that same baton to others. Preaching the good news of Jesus Christ is so important, but it's too important to only preach the gospel: we must train up the next generation of gospel preachers.  

The best possible gift that we can together give to Christ’s church is this: more gospel preachers. So at Church by the Bay we're committed to training the next generation of gospel workers. That’s why we’re thrilled to send Steve and Erin Sammons to Oak Hill Bible College for Steve to start formal theological training in September 2021. Steve has been in training with us here in Morecambe in a whole host of ways for three years, but three years at Bible college will set him up for, we pray, a lifetime of serving our Lord Jesus in his Church.  

Here’s Steve, introducing himself, explaining what he’ll be doing, why and how you can help.

"Hi, I'm Steve and I’ve been a member of Church by the Bay since September 2018. I’m married to Erin who joined me in Morecambe in September 2020 just before we got married in October 2020 with less than 15 masked guests! I came to truly grasp the good news of Jesus at Lancaster University (2014-2017), and from September 2017 - August 2019 I was a Ministry Trainee, firstly for a year at Moorlands Church, Lancaster, then I was sent over the Lune for a different experience of ministry here at Church by the Bay. Serving church in this way was a joy for me, I loved the time it gave me in God’s word and surrounded by God’s people, and I’m thankful to God that since finishing I have been able to get a job locally and continue to serve at church.

But now, I’m very excited to be able to go to Oak Hill in September and it’s great to know I have the support and prayer of my church, friends and family. To help you in your support, I’d love to explain what I’ll be doing while I’m there, why I’m doing it and how you can support me in my training.

Studying at Oak Hill

I will be studying the full-time 3-year BA (Hons) degree in Theology at Oak Hill College in London. This course provides a biblical, theological and practical grounding that will equip me for a lifetime of church ministry. More information can be found here.

The course has been shaped around their graduate profile, which gives a picture of what ministry is like, and what the training is aiming towards. The training is focused not solely on producing people who know the Scriptures deeply, but also on people who love the Lord and who love others. This is done through teaching, learning and assessment, and in a community, where there is as much to be learned from each other as there is from the lecturer.

Well, that’s what I will be doing at Oak Hill, but why am I doing it?

The purpose of studying

My desire through this it to be I will be trained for a  lifetime of full-time gospel ministry. I would love, in good time, to have the privilege of leading a church plant or a revitalisation here in the North West of England. The harvest is plentiful - only 8% of Britain’s population of 68m people attend church[1], so the task we face to reach our nations is large and urgent, and I would love to be a means God uses of reaching that harvest.

But if that is the case, why am I taking 3 years out to train? Surely, we should just get on with it?

If I am going to spend the rest of my life in preaching and teaching the BIble, then there is nothing more important than receiving the best possible training I can, and doing this now so I’m equipped for the rest of my life. If it takes at least 5 years of full-time training to be a doctor to heal our physical bodies, is it not of greater importance that some take out time to train to heal immortal souls by the grace of God?

Everyone I know who attends or has attended Oak Hill loves it and can’t recommend it enough.

How you can help

Firstly, I would love you to support me by prayer. If I am to grow to be someone who will give an account of keeping watch over people’s souls[2], I will need prayer! Though Oak Hill’s culture, community and teaching will help me to grow, only God can cause real and lasting fruit within me.

The best way you can support us in prayer is to sign up to receive our prayer letter (see below). This will be sent out every two months during College and I will give an update on life at College, life for the Sammons family, future plans, and ways in which you can be best praying for us. 

The second main way you can support me is financially. Training costs money - and rightly so, and there will be living costs to cover too, as I won't be earning. Oak Hill estimate the total cost (fees and living costs) in the first year to be around £28,000 and this will likely grow in the following two years. Church by the Bay will be supporting me financially and have set up a special fund for that purpose. We would be so grateful if you would consider contributing to that fund.

Thank you for your support, we look forward to partnering with you in prayer."

If you would like to recieve Steve and Erin's prayer letter and/or pledge to give to the fund please fill in this form:

[1] https://comparecamp.com/church-attendance-statistics/

[2] Hebrews 13:17