Apprenticeship programmes are an important and rigorous first step into ministry. Two years in a local church is a great exposure to church-based ministry, giving the training church and the individual time to think through whether long-term ministry is right. It is important to understand that an Apprenticeship is not an alternative to rigorous theological study but preparation for it. It is not a short-cut to ministry, but the first step of rigorous training over an extended period where the foundations are laid. What are these foundations? Most important of all, learning to preach and teach the Bible and growth in godliness. The nature of an academic study programme in theology at seminary or Bible College can’t easily accommodate this in its curriculum. Moreover, an individual going to seminary with this Bible teaching training under their belt will get much more from their theological studies. That’s why the Bonar Trust funds Apprenticeship Training in partnership with a course like Cornhill. The purpose of Cornhill is to instil convictions and competence in Bible understanding and teaching, an invaluable investment for a lifetime of ministry.
The Trust will only fund people where there is a rigorous training programme in a local church. The training church is asked to complete a detailed questionnaire.
Church leader training
The concept of Church Leader in Training (also referred to as Minister or Pastor in Training) is a post-apprenticeship training role, where an individual trains for three or four years in a local church, alongside rigorous theological study, for example, at Edinburgh Theological Seminary, Crosslands, or the Pastors’ Training Course. During core study time, the individual takes a step back from church work to allow them to concentrate on their studies. This is important. Early in the academic terms, and particularly outside term-time, the local church takes more of the responsibility for focused work experience and training to complement the academic study. Over the four years, a Church Leader in Training will preach about 70 sermons (pastoral preaching to a congregation they know), take on significant ministry leadership, and work closely with the church leader and elders. The key to an effective Church Leader in Training programme is partnership – between the individual and the church leader / elders and between the local church and the seminary. Church Leaders in Training are typically employed part-time in their training churches. There is scope in the model for individuals to spend time in other churches to broaden their experience and to satisfy candidacy requirements.
As with Apprenticeship Training, the Trust will only fund people where there is a rigorous training programme in a local church.
Women in Ministry training
This is very important and is currently being developed by the Trust and others. More information is forthcoming.
Church planter training
Specialist Church Planter Training might involve someone spending a year in a planting context. The external study component there are a range of possibilities. Foe example, Generation bases its training on the City to City Urban Incubator adapted for a UK context. Incubator is City to City’s key two-year program to serve, train, and develop church planters in urban ministry and has been used around the world over the past 10 years and more. Each learning module addresses the specific needs of urban planters, including skills in thinking theologically about ministry, and growth in the various areas of urban ministry.
This is not instead of study at, say Cornhill and Seminary. It is in addition to it.
As more churches are planted and established, more people will be trained in church planting contexts for the duration of their training.