The Certificate training weaves together four strands of theology/practice over the course of nine months (approx), through times of gathering, distance learning, and different forms of group discussion (online and smaller gatherings where possible).
1. God’s Identity and Mission (and ours)
2. Healing & Holistic Liberation - biblical foundations and practices
3. Social Prophetic Mission - justice, advocacy & peace-making
4. Word on the Street - contextual bible studies
You will find a draft schedule for Gathering One here.
Materials: Students will all have access to electronic materials before each gathering. They can also request (for an additional small fee) printed manuals. They will have access to a student online forum, where distance learning will be posted fortnightly and students can share learning and keep in touch for the duration of the training.
Study hours: The amount of time participants commit to this training, between the gatherings, varies. We have a minimum requirement and, beyond that, it depends upon the participant's own needs and motivation.
- We require that each participant read Bob Ekblad's 'New Christian Manifesto' (ideally before the training starts) and, later in the training, 'When Helping Hurts' (which some will have read before). We also require that people watch the fortnightly distance learning recordings (c. 50 min), and write a max 1000 word (non-assessed) practical reflection (or make a 3 minute recording) at the end of the training.
- We recommend that each participant read at least two other books from the reading list over the duration of the training, and that participants reflect on the content of the training in smaller groups (either online or in person) between gatherings.
- The minimum time commitment required is probably 2 hours per week
Strand 1: God's Identity & Mission (and ours): God’s mission from the beginning to save the world includes humans made in God’s image. This strand explores God’s identity and mission and ours, journeying from the Old Testament through the New, setting a theology of the Kingdom of God and human empowerment on firm Scriptural foundations. Baptismal identity grounds effective ministry as we enter into Jesus’ death and are resurrected to new life— filled with the Spirit, adopted by grace as beloved sons and daughters of the Father, and recruited, equipped and empowered to engage in Jesus’ ministry until his return.
Strand 2: Healing & Holistic Liberation - biblical foundations and practices: People engaged in ministry encounter spiritual and structural obstacles to personal and social transformation. In this module we deepen our theology of holistic liberation and practice/learn hands-on approaches to physical and inner healing, personal deliverance and other kinds of prayer ministry.
Strand 3: The Place of Justice, Advocacy & Peace-Making in Mission: participants will develop a biblical perspective on prophetic ministry that includes “social prophetic” practices such as advocacy on behalf of the marginalized, non-violence, peace-making, and resistance to the powers. This will be complemented by “charismatic prophetic” practices such as hearing and communicating words of knowledge for encouragement and healing, “prophetic evangelism,” and spiritual warfare. We will explore approaches to ministry amongst the incarcerated, gang members, people in prostitution, and other groups relevant in a UK/European setting, and will look at the value of ‘missional communities’ in these contexts. We’ll be inviting UK-based specialists working in these fields to share their experience and will encourage significant input from participants.
Strand 4: Word on the Street - preparing & leading transformational bible studies: we will explore tried and tested approaches to preparing and leading Bible studies with people who feel excluded from the church and society and rejected by God. The barriers that keep today’s most obvious “sinners” from believing the gospel can be addressed by confronting negative images of God, engaging people’s participation, making use of the gifts of the Spirit, confronting oppressive structures, learning to interpret difficult texts for good news, and inviting appropriate responses such as confession, forgiveness, healing, and restorative justice.
Throughout the training we will be asking the question 'how does this work in my life & ministry'?