A little while back we mentioned our new partnership with Union School of Theology which means that from September this year we will be hosting one of their Learning Communities here in the West Midlands.
The GDip programme offered through the Learning Community is a fantastic opportunity to get a good, recognised qualification and benefit from fantastic teaching from top class lecturers including Mike Reeves, Robert Letham and Lee Gattis. Central to the Learning Community approach is the study day together with the other Learning Community students. The day will include video lectures to watch and lots of opportunity to discuss their content together. Each tutorial session will throw up lots of challenging pastoral and theological issues to get your teeth into.
The Learning Community approach captures the best of two worlds -the opportunity to do distance learning so that you don’t have to relocate to a campus and the strength of learning together in a community building links and friendships that will last a lifetime of ministry.
As a church, we’ve been so encouraged by watching one of our own young men train with Union and to see him learn and grow. That’s one of the main reasons why we’ve chosen to partner with them. We want people who are looking to church plant and/or pastor churches in urban contexts to have the same quality of training and be fully equipped for Gospel ministry in some of our most needy and challenging communities.
This brings me on to a second point. You could simply do the GDip as a part time programme whilst using the rest of your working week to find other sources of employment. For some students this will be the right decision.
However, what we are also offering is the opportunity to come and train with us as a local, church planting church. In other words, why not come and do a two year internship with us? You will spend half of your time studying for the GDip and the other half of your time training and getting practical experience for urban ministry.
Why do this? Well let me suggest 3 reasons.
1. We learn a lot through listening to lectures, reading texts, discussing with others and writing assignments. This is an important and essential part of ministry training. However, we also learn so much about leadership, discipleship, pastoral care and evangelism through getting stuck in and trying things out in practice. The internship will give you the opportunity to do that working alongside people with lots of experience of urban ministry.
2. We believe that evangelism and church planting in urban Britain is both a great need and a great opportunity. It’s a great need because there are millions of people who desperately need to hear the Gospel and far too few workers in this harvest field. It’s a great opportunity because there are so many people who seem open to the Gospel and hungry for God’s Words. We would love to help you have your eyes opened to this great need and opportunity.
3. If you are considering church planting in an urban context, then this is a good way to get started whilst training. An internship with us will include opportunities to preach, experience children’s and youth work and gain exposure to various types of ministry context. However, what we’ll be particularly encouraging interns to do will be to move into a neighbourhood, start to get to know people, seek out gospel opportunities and begin to grow a group of disciples from scratch. What if at the end of the two years, the fruit of your training was not just a certificate but also a fledgling church plant?
If you are particularly interested in a Bearwood Chapel internship, please get in touch with Dave Williams via our contacts page.