Mike Riddell graduated with a Bachelor of Theology at Whitley in 2021. Since then, he has continued to work in vocational ministry, and in 2022, was ordained with the Baptist Union of Victoria (BUV), an achievement that he is very proud of. “The reason I chose to study at Whitley was to combine theological study and vocational development into a collaborative relationship between the BUV and Whitley College.”
He is currently serving as a Pastor for Next Generations at a mutli-generational, multi-cultural church in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia.
When reflecting on his time at Whitley, Mike says “the college provided a sharp and diverse learning environment to contextualise my perspective & understanding of faith in conversation with others- some of whom had similar and others who had different perspectives and understandings to my own. I found the extensive range of practical ministry-related subjects to be formative in my own continuing maturation as a follower of Jesus and Pastor.”
Mike enjoyed his time as a Whitley student and is particularly grateful for the meaningful connections that he formed with students from a multitude of backgrounds and cultures. The diversity reinforced the reality of the diverse society in which he lives and ministers. The ordination cohort (they know who they are) provided valuable companionship and support that enriched his learning experience.
The wisdom and guidance of the teaching staff helped to shape Mike’s own formation and development as a pastoral leader. Mike credits the teaching of Siu Fung (who taught the subject on ‘Paul & the cruciform nature of the Christian faith’) for challenging and inspiring him on his own journey of faith. “I valued Siu Fung’s presentation of this theological topic and learnt a lot through his biblical teaching and sharing of personal experience.”
Mike is married to his lovely wife Zoe and together they are parents to two young children Norah and Charlie. Living a life following Jesus is at the heart of everything Mike does both personally and professionally. He is a dedicated husband, father and friend and is always striving to be and do better for the important people in his life. Vocationally, his focus is on aligning the generational ministries (0-40year olds) within the diverse and multi-cultural context of the church he’s planted in, establishing discipleship pathways for people to become passionate and resilient followers of Jesus throughout all of life.
In his spare time Mike likes to go stand-up paddleboarding, as aside from being fun, it is a time for reflection and replenishment. “Being out on the water (when it’s calm and not too cold) is one of the most relaxing and refreshing experiences I’ve been able to incorporate into my life.”
When asked what advice he would give someone considering theological study, Mike says that he resonates with Eugene Peterson’s portrayal of the Christian life as a ‘long obedience in the same direction’. “I never knew him personally, but his writings have functioned as sage advice for my own life”. The advice he’d give is “to embrace the opportunities and the privilege to learn, not just through the content of the subjects, but also the people who teach and learn in those classes as well.” Mike believes he’s learnt just as much from the wisdom and lived experience of the staff and students, as he did within the classroom. “There really is so much we can learn- if we’re willing to submit and listen to others.”
Mike offers wonderful advice and an inspirational example. We look forward to following his journey.