Bible Society’s 2023 Masterclass addressed tough questions of faith in three capital cities 

This year, during the month of August, Bible Society Australia (BSA) ran three Masterclass events in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide. Aimed at students in years 9-11, BSA’s Masterclass is a day in which students participate in worship, a Q&A session and have the opportunity to listen to a panel of speakers on contemporary topics within the Christian faith. 

“As a student, I loved the event as it was so engaging. The talks were relevant and very helpful; the speakers delved deep into their topics and analysed the Bible with purpose, which really helped me understand both the passage from the Bible and the talk itself.” — student attendee, 2023

The biggest Masterclass post-COVID 

This year was the biggest year for Masterclass since COVID as schools return after two years of cancelled events and the option of attending in-person reopening.

With a total of 2,200 students, teachers and staff attending the event over the week, 641 from Sydney, 297 from Perth, 244 from Adelaide and over 1,000 registered and watched via livestream. 

In addition to this, Bible Society also had the pleasure of hosting three other events around Masterclass: 

  • A Youth Event with Dan Paterson (attended by 60 people) 
  • A Conversation with CPX’s Natasha Moore – (attended by 40 people) 
  • YouthQ WA – (a combined churches youth event attended by 130 people). 

After the Masterclass events concluded, speaker Dan Paterson, founder of Questioning Christianity posted on social media, “A huge thanks to Bible Society Australia for some brilliant Masterclass and YouthQ events around Australia. To see this theatre in Sydney and other venues packed out with young people connecting the Christian story to life’s deepest questions was a real treat.” 

Why believe the Gospels? 

The Sydney Masterclass event kicked off with a student devotional from Covenant Christian School, followed in Sydney and Perth by the first seminar of the day from Dan Paterson. This talk set the tone for Masterclass, as Dan addressed the question: “Why Believe the Gospels?” His thought-provoking talk covered why and how the Gospels can culturally, historically and scientifically stand up under scrutiny and why their story is worth believing. 

Dan Paterson expressed his thanks to the youth who attended, saying, “Thanks as well to the teenagers with the courage to voice their raw questions, ranging from loneliness, bad friendships, and mental health, to suffering, doubts about the gospels, suicide, and how to know what God wants them to do with their lives. Fielding these questions alongside some brilliant Aussie thinkers and speakers is an entrustment I don’t take lightly, and it’s cool to hear how many have already been watching Questioning Christianity‘s YouTube channel.


“Dan’s talk was really good, it helped me understand the gospels better and made me feel closer to God!” — student attendee, 2023

“What if young people lived as the future church now? Is hope real, and is it enough?” These questions and more were addressed at Masterclass. 

As each event progressed, participants engaged in a variety of encouraging talks on tough but relevant questions from the speakers: 

  • Nick Wood, Assistant Pastor of The Bridge Church, Sydney addressed the Sydney gathering on: THE FUTURE CHURCH NOW. He spoke about how young people are the future of the church, yet are often waiting until adulthood to go ‘all in’ for Jesus. But what if young people lived as the future church now? 
  • Natasha Moore, Senior Research Fellow at CPX addressed the Perth gathering, speaking on: WELCOME TO THE APOCOLYPSE. In her talk, Natasha acknowledged that the future is frightening. Is there anything we can do to make the future less scary? Is hope real? – and is it enough? 
  • Erica Hamence, Associate Minister at St Barnabas Anglican Church, Sydney, addressed the Sydney and Perth gatherings on TRUE FRIENDS? HOW TO BE CLOSE WITH YOUR GROUP WITHOUT LOSING YOURSELF. Erica posed and spoke to such questions as: What does being a Christian mean for our friendships? How does Jesus’ love model what being a good friend means?
  • Max Jeganathan, Research Fellow at CPX, addressed the Adelaide gathering on the question of, WHY BOTHER WITH GOD IF I’M HAPPY? – This talk equipped listeners with foundational content on truth, suffering and happiness, to assist in responding to this question through the lens of the Christian message. The talk provided listeners with an understanding of how the fundamentals of the Gospel can help us respond to some of the big questions of culture. 

“I think the speakers were perfectly pitched at the students and what is relevant to them. There were great nuggets in each of the talks!” — student attendee, 2023

Will you pray for all the young Christians who attended Masterclass? 

  • Pray for them to be encouraged in their faith in God. 
  • Pray they may continue to stand firm in their Christian faith. 
  • Ask that God would continue to reveal his truth to them, so they can have answers to their questions, and those of their friends. 

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