Ben Ladd is part of Servant’s Church in Norwich in the UK. He’s studying on the GDip at our Cambridge Learning Community which is based at Tyndale House. We chatted with him about his experience so far and what he’s found most valuable.
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up the other side of the ‘border’ in Suffolk. My dad was an evangelical minister and so I’ve always been part of a church. I moved to Norwich for university where I studied Natural Sciences at the University of East Anglia. It was in my final year that I’d say I became a Christian and committed my life to Jesus. I’ve stayed on in the city (like many who go to university in this fine city of Norwich!), and first served as an intern in Servant’s Church and now as the main administrator. Alongside that role I’m also involved in some preaching and teaching ministries as well as outreach to international students.
What’s brought you to study at Union?
For some time, I’d been wanting a formal theological education, but my wife and I couldn’t move from Norwich. I explored several options, however many of them didn’t involve much, if any, face to face contact and these self-taught or distance learning programmes didn’t appeal to me. But I found that Union did offer a community-based approach through the Learning Communities, so I applied for the nearest one to me which is in Cambridge.
What are you enjoying about the GDip and the Learning Community?
I really like that it’s fast paced! I’m gaining a lot of knowledge from highly regarded lecturers and I’m enjoying all the week to week reading too. It’s forcing me to seriously think through some convictions I have and arrive at well-reasoned beliefs, rather than just take something at face value. I’ve appreciated the group dynamic for this too – the convictions that I’m settling on are teased out within the loving fellowship and discussions of our Learning Community. There’s a good group of us, all from different places and church contexts and its fun working through the lectures and materials as a group – we all feel like we are in this together and it’s wonderful to learn alongside people in that way.
Is there one lecture that’s stuck with you so far?
I found Bob Letham's lecture (and his prescribed reading) on sanctification and perseverance very powerful and moving. There’s a John Murray quote that I believe sums it up – ‘it is by grace that we are being saved as surely as by grace we have been saved’. That lecture was such an encouragement to me at the time and has remained in my mind each day.
How do you see the GDip shaping you in your life and ministry?
I and many others were quite quick to observe the fruit of these studies. For a start my general conversations as well as preaching and teaching have been much more well founded, thoughtful and better researched. I’ve also recognised an ever-increasing joy and passion for God’s word and his truth, and a desire to share that with others which I’m really grateful for! Learning with Union has given me the words, that is the way to express coherently, what I’ve always believed and known to be true.
Ben is studying on the GDip programme at our Cambridge Learning Community. The GDip provides a solid foundation in biblical, theological and pastoral studies for those stepping into gospel ministry. Find out more about the programme here