In Context Training part 2: Subversive Fulfilment and a mission shaped syllabus

The other day I said that in context training needs to be framed by a missiology. So, I began to think about what that type of syllabus might look like. What if we used the Subversive Fulfilment framework that I’m engaging with for my sabbatical.

So here’s my “What If?” Continue reading


In context training needs to be … in context

There’s been a lot of rethinking and reforming going on around theological education in the UK. One of the big moves has been towards providing training away from the seminary campus and in the local context. There has always been the option of distance learning but the provision of Union’s Learning Communities model and Crosslands flexacademy take things up a level. Continue reading

Reforming Theological Education – further thoughts on the conversation

There’s been this little conversation going on about the best way to provide theological training for ministry.  Questions include:

–          Must theological training always happen in seminaries and on campus or is there a place for in context, local church-based training?

–          Is theological training too academic in nature and are there ways of equipping people through more ‘vocational’ methods?

Reading blogs and twitter feeds, I get the impression that some people are willing to concede that in context training may have a place but the general gist of it is that campus-based seminary training is better.

My position is that both seminary based and in context training have their place but that the in context and vocational training should and could be as effective at thoroughly equipping people for ministry.

I want to pick up on some of the reasons why by challenging some of the assumptions and arguments that I’ve heard.

Continue reading

How Theological Training helped me prepare for pastoral ministry

There’s been a flurry of articles online recently about the plusses and minuses of theological education.

I want to share a few thoughts here about the positives of formal theological education and why I recommend it.[1]  There’s a temptation to see training as primarily academic and therefore irrelevant to the day to day life of ministry.  There’s probably a whole wider discussion to be had about the assumption that academic and practical must be diametrically opposed but I will limit myself to a few comments here: Continue reading

Reforming our Theological Training -Who is Responsible?

The latest contribution to the conversation about Theological Training comes from John Benton, editor of Evangelicals Now.

His commentary article is available online at as well as in the latest edition (hint – E-N is the best monthly Christian magazine/newspaper out there, so if don’t already subscribe, please do). Continue reading

Urban Ministry – Where to train

If you are serious about urban gospel ministry, then the best place to get trained for this is in the field, in an urban ministry context by urban ministry practitioners. There are currently three places in England where you can engage in this type of training whilst also working towards a Theological qualification with Union School of Theology Continue reading

Why is theological training vital for urban mission?

We are committed to training people for urban mission. A significant part of that training includes practical experience of Gospel ministry but it also includes a lot of “Theology.”

Now, “Theology” at times has had a bad reputation. It can be a bit of a dirty word, especially amongst those who see the urgency of the mission and get frustrated by those who seem to be bogged down in the theory.

Theology is often associated with academia. It is seen as remote, cerebral and out of touch. It has often been linked to liberalism and the denial of Scripture’s authority and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Yet, theology, properly speaking and done properly is the planter and the preacher’s best friend. Indeed, no-one should be preaching without taking time to study some theology. Those seem like strong words, so why do I say them? Continue reading