We’re just about to start our first Union G-Dip programme in a couple of weeks’ time, so it may seem a bit strange to be talking about September 2018 or even 2019. Yet the reality is that now is just the right time to be thinking about Gospel Ministry training if it is likely to happen within the next two to three years.
You see, before someone can start training, there’s a lot to do including:
1. Taking time to discern a calling. This is something that needs to happen with your local church, your family and others who know you well. There will be lots of searching questions to ask and answer and you will need to give a lot of time to pray.
2. Completing existing commitments. This will include commitments at work. Of course, you can just give the agreed notice period and sometimes that is all you can do and all you should do. However, there will be times when the commitment is a bit more than just seeing out your notice. For example, when I left my previous employment there were a couple of projects that I had been heavily involved in and I wanted to see them through to an appropriate closure point. I’d also spent the last few years developing a new team and I spent much of my last twelve months making sure that all the team members were up and running and gelling together so that things wouldn’t fall apart when I left.
3. There will also be commitments at church as well. Don’t just walk away from a ministry. Of course, nobody is indispensable but the idea that when you leave, there isn’t a hole to fill isn’t true. You will leave gaps. Remember that when we are called to serve God in pastoral ministry, then we are called to serve the local church. Ministry training isn’t a personal career investment. It’s for the local church and if your transition actually causes unnecessary pain and chaos for a local church and you are oblivious to that, then think again about your calling.
4. You will want to take time to make sure that you find the right place to train. This means first of all looking for teaching and training that will be theologically sound but it also means seeking out training that will be practically relevant.
With regards to point 4, obviously we have a bit of a declared interest here! So I want to say two things at this stage. First of all, there are lots of brilliant places and courses to consider including Oak Hill, London Seminary, not to mention the various different options for studying with Union including other learning communities and the campus at Bridgend. We are all serving the Gospel together and are not in competition.
However, I do want to encourage you to consider coming and training with us if:
1. You have a particular concern for urban ministry including pastoral ministry, church revitalisation and church planting.
2. You would like to benefit from training that includes a mixture of academic learning through seminars, book study, online resources etc. and opportunities to gain hands on practical ministry experience in an urban multi-cultural context.
If that sounds like you, then please have a look at our TrainBC pages, then lets start the conversation.