Who is Dr Ian Kirby?
Ian Kirby is Vice-Principal (Quality) at Moorlands College. His responsibilities ensure that the study opportunities of Moorlands are as good as they can be. He also heads up the college cross-cultural training having previously been both BA and MA Course Leader. 1
Ian was born in Dumfries, a market town in Southern Scotland. However, he went to school in and around Paisley, Renfrewshire; a town built on the textile industry which is situated in the west central Lowlands of Scotland, 7 miles east of the city of Glasgow. The name ‘Paisley’ was given to the Kashmiri pattern of curving shapes found on silk and cotton fabric and made famous in the UK through the town. 2
From Crusaders to Keswick:
Ian’s parents were both active Christians who were involved in leading a local Crusaders youth group (the precursor to what is now known as Urban Saints). Ian's father, a college lecturer, and his wife were also involved in running a camp at the Keswick convention, so Ian was taken along from the age of just three month old, which made him one of the younger-than-average punters to the annual convention!
This did mean though that the young lad grew up with a clear sense of the eternal throughout his formative years, and thanks to his parents - a clear understanding of many aspects of faith through their selfless example of service.
Looking back in retrospect education has always played a key role in Ian's life. When, at about the age of about six, his classmates were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up some chose to be policemen, footballers or soldiers, but Ian claimed he wanted to be a college lecturer, like his dad. Little did he know then, that this was to become a reality later in his life.
However, it wasn't until he was aged eleven that he had a genuine, and very personal, experience of God. It happened while he was attending a Christian rock concert, as everyone was singing along with the praise and worship songs the words struck a chord within him as he realised what he was singing! Suddenly the reality of the lyrics stuck him, and the enormity of the Love of God for him personally grabbed hold of him. In that moment, Ian entrusted himself into the hands of the Lord Jesus.
At a number of points throughout his life Ian has almost escaped his destiny of being a college lecturer, not least when he left school early and decided to do a gap year on a short term mission. He signed up with Operation Mobilization (OM) which radically changed his direction in life.
OM, an international missionary organisation, was formed in 1957 by George Verwer and today has over 3,500 workers representing 113 nations in more than 110 countries yet always with the same aim - to reveal the love of Jesus wherever they are and with whoever they work with. 3
For Ian this meant spending his gap year in Ireland during which he felt a strong calling to be part of God’s mission in the Muslim world… but first he needed to go to university.
Ian returned to Scotland to continue his studies and enrolled at the University of Aberdeen, with its motto of 'Initium Sapientiae Timor Domini', which translates from Latin as "The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord." 4 He majored in Artificial Intelligence eventually completing a PhD in the subject. His goal was to use this training as a vehicle into a Muslim country so that he could be a blessing there. Along the way he met Fay, who would go on to become his wife.
All Nations to Central Asia:
Ian has always been fascinated by how culture impacts how we express our faith, particularly how it affects our ideas about leadership and how to do church. After studying at 'All Nations Christian College', an independent, evangelical, interdenominational Bible College in Hertfordshire, which focuses on Cross-cultural mission training, 5 Ian and Fay spent ten years in one of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, where they were involved in drinking countless cups of tea (also known as evangelism)!
There he initially focused on teaching Information Technology in a local university and team leadership, but soon found a passion for church planting, discipling believers, and training local people for ministry. During those years, he completed a research masters, and changed what he was teaching from computing science to world religions.
Ian and Fay have three children together.
All-in-all, Ian has done some 22 years of schooling, in one way or another. In 2005 they moved to Ringwood after receiving an invitation to join the staff at Moorlands College Christchurch Campus teaching Cross-cultural mission. He has also served in various other leadership capacities at the college. He is now Vice-Principal (Quality), which means he is involved in making sure that what the College does is the best that it can be.
At Moorlands Ian teaches both undergraduate and post graduate modules and these include subjects such as: The church and community, working cross-culturally, cross-cultural professional studies, apologetics and Christian leadership 1
He’s also an elder at his local church in Ringwood, and one of the trustees of Wycliffe Bible Translators. Faye now works as a teacher in a Bournemouth school.
Wessex Filling Station:
Ian was invited to be the speaker at the 27th June 2019 Filling Station after the College worked together with a dozen local churches to bring Yinka Oyekan's THE TURNING across Bournemouth and Christchurch during the College Mission week of 13th -19th June 2019. This occurred in the College's 70th anniversary year and former Principal Steve Brady had endorsed the college supporting evangelism in the local area as a way of further encouraging churches to live transparent lives and releasing their members into mission, evangelism and discipleship.
- Moorlands College Staff profiles - see: https://www.moorlands.ac.uk/iankirby/
- For more information on Paisley - see: https://www.paisley.org.uk/paisley-history/
- For more information on the history and vision of Operation Mobilization check out their website: https://www.uk.om.org/Pages/Category/about-us
- University of Aberdeen Motto - see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Aberdeen#Motto
- for more information on All Nations Christian College see their website: https://www.allnations.ac.uk/