The Anti-Money Laundering Analyst
Dev Kamal works in anti-money laundering at Commerzbank. He has been at St Helen’s since 2013 and in September last year he started Workers’ Ministry Training (WMT) – a one-year scheme in Bible handling and teaching, for Christians who work in the City, and designed to run alongside a full-time job. The scheme was set up by St Nick’s Talks – a lunchtime ministry on Queen Victoria Street.
What’s WMT about?
It’s about training people to be good Bible handlers – i.e., getting them to open the Bible, read, and interpret it, and then be able to teach it.
Who’s it for?
It’s aimed at Christians who work in the City, who want to learn how to handle the Bible better, and is designed to run alongside a full-time job. There are five of us on the 2015/16 WMT.
What’s the difference between knowing the Bible and handling it?
Handling the Bible is about not just reading it at a surface level – rather it involves looking at the context of a passage and not just its immediate context or, indeed, the context of the overall Bible story, but in the context of the book it appears in.
I had been around St Helen’s for a while and had really appreciated the sermons and the small-group Bible studies, but it wasn’t until I started WMT that the idea of the ‘message of the book’ became clear to me. Getting why Paul (or Mark or one of the prophets) is writing the book, helps ensure you really understand a specific passage in the book, rather than just coming away with a generic truth.
What’s involved in WMT?
We meet an evening a week. Before Christmas we looked at 1 Peter, in the New Year it was 2 Timothy, and in the summer it will be Habakkuk. We have preparation to do for each session – which involves trying to find out the overall purpose of the book and then the main points of each section. Dan Hong, who works at St Nick’s Talks and who leads the course, recommends five hours of preparation each week. This is a lot – but it is worth it.
Each week we then compare the results of our preparation and have to be ready to have it torn apart – well, it’s more a challenging and refining process in which we all help each other to become clearer on the purpose of the passage and how that feeds back into – and from – the overall purpose of the book. Dan leads the session well, in that he doesn’t tell us what the answers are – he just pushes us to be clearer and to be able to justify the conclusions that we reach.
Sometimes we walk away from training more confused. In most Bible studies, the idea is to get 80% of the way there, with a lot of help from the leader. But in our training sessions, Dan would rather we get 50% of the way there, with very little help from him. And hopefully, that means we can get the rest of the way there on our own.
We also have a Saturday morning session once a month, at which we might discuss set books that we have read, or our thoughts on sermons that we have been set to listen to. Recent books have included What is the mission of the church?,and we have listened to 2 Timothy sermons from Dick Lucas (William Taylor’s predecessor at St Helen’s) and Andy Gemmill, who runs Cornhill Scotland, a Bible teaching course in Glasgow.
How has WMT already helped you?
I lead a prayer group at work and I am more confident with what I am able to share from the Bible at the start of our prayer meetings. Also, I have discovered that you don’t have to rely on resources or commentaries – you can discover truths from the Bible yourself.
Go here for more on WMT
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