Lay training exists to help each of us fulfil our God given call. God calls all people to be his disciples, just as Jesus called everyone to follow him. Too often we think God’s call is only for the ‘super-spiritual’, the saints, the clergy, the holy people. But there are many roles in the kingdom of God and all of us have gifts, given by God. Luke 10:1 talks of Jesus sending out 70 disciples after teaching them. Some went on to be leaders but many continued as fishermen, tax collectors, home makers. Sharing, in their everyday lives, their work and neighbourhoods about the Jesus they had met and learnt from. Further training in the Bible, theology and ministry can help us better use our gifts.
The local church through home groups, lent courses, outreach and other activities provides the first place for learning. The Diocese provides a second stage for more in depth learning and specialised ministries. The following courses are provided by the Diocese:
- Exploring Christianity -find out more about what Christians believe, more about the bible, mission and the church.
- Exploring Spirituality – get to know God better and learn different ways of praying and engaging with God.
- Reader training – for a licenced preaching, teaching and leading worship ministry.
- CMS Certificate in Pioneer Mission – for those exploring new ideas on the edges of the church
- Lay Chaplaincy Ministry – for those appointed as school, hospital, prison, town centre, village or other chaplaincy roles.
- Talking Jesus – for those who want to become more confident in talking naturally and honestly about their faith without embarrassment.
The following courses are provided by the Deanery using Diocesan materials, and you should talk to your minister in the first instance:
- Exploring Worship explores the nature of worship and how to construct and lead different types of services.
- Exploring Pastoral Care explores how to listen and care for people and how to visit parishioners and others in the community.
Lay Ministries Office
The Lay Ministries Developer with the Chaplains for Discerning Calling are here to help lay people uncover their calling and ministry. Sometimes, but only sometimes, that will be a calling to do something in the church. However, it will always be a calling to be a disciple in home, work and community. God calls us not just to be clergy or teachers or medics but also to be godly cleaners, executives, shop assistants, or farmers. Where ever you find yourself, God would like to use you to share God’s love with those around you.
The Chaplains for Discerning Calling are here to help you assess your gifts. In the light of those gifts you can explore how God wants you to use them.
The Lay Ministries Office provides the training for your calling. This might be more in depth knowledge of the faith or training for specific, mainly, church based ministries.
Besides training offered in the Diocese you can explore theology training with the following organisations and institutions:
Uncredited A level type courses:
- Gold Project especially their level 3 courses
- Exploring Theology at Sarum College
- Wells Cathedral Talks especially at Lent and other times. Try their learning page or latest news
University Level Study for interest or award as part-time study local:
Part-time, distance or online University Awards:
- Cliff College part-time courses with a Methodist perspective
- CMS Pioneering Awards from the Church Mission Society Oxford
- Eastern Region Ministry Course Anglican, fully online through interactive class rooms
- London School of Theology – a long established well respected independent evangelical college.
- St John’s College Distance Learning Awards – Anglican Common Awards
- Spurgeon’s College Baptist distance learning programme
- Westminster Theological Centre – a charismatic independent college for part-time study with a Bristol Hub.
- Woolf Institute studies in Jewish, Christian and Muslim Interfaith subjects online
MA Level Study
- Cambridge Theological Federation interdenominational
- CMS Pioneering MA Oxford based; Anglican Church Mission Society
- Eastern Region Ministry Course Anglican online with some weekend residentials.
- London School of Theology – evangelical independent with distance learning.
- Sarum College Anglican Salisbury based.
- St John’s College Distance Learning Awards – Anglican, long established.
- Trinity College Bristol Anglican Bristol based.
For more details download the Courses for Theological Study which includes some guidance on funding.