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