Foundations for Ministry / Enabler Ministry Course
Formerly known as Foundations
God calls and gifts all his people for different ministries in his kingdom. Some are called to take leading roles in particular areas of ministry in their local churches. In the diocese of St Albans we believe that it is important to recognise and nurture these gifts by training people to be equipped for these particular ministries, in order that our churches may grow spiritually, missionally and numerically.
Those who complete this course, like Lay Leaders of Worship (LLWS) will receive a letter of recognition from the bishop and then be commissioned to their local benefice in an act of worship in their local benefice by the parish priest. There are three “flavours” of commissioning which will reflect the current or future role of the individual person.
In recognition of the diversity of contexts, worshipping traditions, and ministerial activities in churches across the diocese, the “Enabler roles” are intended to be permissive not prescriptive and should reflect the needs and context of the local benefice, as well as the gifts and skills of the individual Enabler.
Those who are (or with the incumbent’s permission are looking to be) involved in mission and evangelism – which could include contributing to MAPs, implementing LYCIG principles, encouraging mission and outreach events, sharing their faith and enabling others to do so – will be commissioned as Mission Enablers. This role links in with the Living God’s Love strand of Making New Disciples. The Foundations for Ministry course will enhance these people’s ministry by deepening their understanding of the faith we have inherited and are called to pass on, and considering this in relation to the context of today so as to bring the light of Christ’s hope into the darkness of the struggles of this world.
Those who are (or with the incumbent’s permission are looking to be) involved in pastoral and community care – which could include pastoral visiting, voluntary chaplaincy work, running foodbanks, community support, prayer and healing ministries, and bereavement support – will be commissioned as Pastoral Enablers. This role links in with the Living God’s Love strand of Transforming Communities. The Foundations course will enhance these people’s ministry by developing their understanding of the story of God’s people past and present as involving faith and response through the trials of life.
Those who are (or with the incumbent’s permission are looking to be) involved in teaching the faith – which could include leading home groups and Bible study groups, assisting with baptism or confirmation preparation, and teaching on discipleship courses – will be commissioned as Discipleship Enablers. This role links in with the Living God’s Love strand of Going Deeper into God. The Foundations course will enhance these people’s ministry by equipping them with skills and knowledge relating to the Bible and Christian beliefs and how these are entwined with the complexities of life, which will enable their ministry of teaching of the faith to be enriched.
This course is both for those already exercising, or looking to exercise, a leadership role in an area of ministry in their local church; and also acts as a prerequisite course for Reader training. The course will enable participants to develop their biblical and theological understanding and bring this to bear on issues that are pertinent in our world, society and church.
Those exercising or looking to exercise a care home ministry or leading a children’s/youth group may find this course useful and could consider whether the focus of their ministry is on deepening people’s faith, providing pastoral care or mission.
In all cases, the aim is to enable the participants to deepen their own discipleship which bears fruit in their ministry.
The “Enabler roles” are specifically focussed on a leadership role in an area of ministry in a specific benefice. There is no age limit for those entering this course with a view to commissioning.
In order to receive the letter of permission from the bishop to enable commissioning as an Enabler, those who successfully complete this course will also be required to complete the online Safeguarding courses C0 and C1, and the classroom based training C2 Leadership. More details here.
We also recommend that parishes consider a basic disclosure for those on the Foundations course/commissioned as Enablers. Information on basic disclosures can be found here.
Those who, due to another role in church, already have an up to date DBS check, it would not be necessary to obtain a basic disclosure. However, if the DBS check expires and is not renewed due to the Enabler no longer occupying the role that required it, then it is recommended that the parish considers obtaining a basic disclosure for the Enabler.
Enablers are required to keep up to date with safeguarding requirements. This means attending a refresher course for the highest required level of training, which is C2. It is the parish’s responsibility to ensure that Enablers are up to date with their safeguarding requirements.
Foundations for Ministry is a 1-year annual non-accredited course delivered by the Eastern Region Ministry Course (ERMC).
There are 3 modules, 1 module per term. Each module has a specific focus:
- Module 1 – set texts from Isaiah 40-55 and Matthew’s gospel;
- Module 2 – development of Christian beliefs in the early church looking particularly at Augustine of Hippo, and this development through history to the modern decades.
- Module 3 – exploring issues that are pertinent in our world today, and considering how our Christian faith can speak into these issues with the light and hope of Christ.
Whilst these are specific areas of focus, the course keeps the Bible, Christian beliefs and ministry in view throughout.
Sessions will be approximately 1 hour in length and will be delivered online by podcasts and/or videos, and will be made available on the Monday of each week of term, so participants can access the session at any time in the week, whenever is most convenient. In addition there will be 2 hours of reading per week, and an online discussion forum to discuss the topics raised in the sessions with others on the course. There will be a piece of work to be submitted for each module.
The weekly content will be made available online via ERMC’s Moodle every week and can be accessed at any time at the convenience of the individual. Those on the course are expected to then engage on the online discussion forum on Moodle each week with thoughts on specific questions relating to the week’s content. It is estimated the content, discussion forum and additional reading should take about 3 hours per week and does not need to be done all at once.
Whilst this course is non-accredited, there is a written assessment for each module to assess learning. As such, whilst Foundations for Ministry is a standalone course in its own right, it can also be a preparation for those looking to go on to further study and can act as an access course for Reader/ordination training for those without university education.
Those booking on the course will be asked to select a ministry stream leading to a specific Enabler role (further information on Enabler roles is above). Once per term, a gathered session via zoom for those on each stream will be facilitated by the diocese to enable participants to relate the content of the module to their ministry stream.
At the start of the course the Lay Ministry Officer will be in touch to ask if anyone would like to be in a small discussion group with others on the course. These discussion groups are optional and are not a compulsory or core part of the course, but are intended as an additional way of learning and engaging for those who are interested. Once set up by the Lay Ministry Officer, the discussion groups will be self-directed and organised by the participants in the group.
Experience of Participants on the Course
Here are comments from participants on the course of their experiences:
The course provides a very flexible way of studying. The quality of the teaching material is high and the weekly online sharing of answers and comments works surprisingly well. Highly recommended for someone already involved informally in ministry who would like to deepen their understanding of the bible, theology and ministry.
The course is really accessible and clearly laid out. I found the content extremely interesting and challenging. I especially enjoy the discussion forum at the end of each module where there is a guided discussion of the area studied. This enables us to bounce ideas off each other in a respectful and encouraging environment.
The Foundations course has been very interesting so far, a bit of a shock to the system for someone who has not done any academic work for many years, but manageable and a good way of confirming that I am still interested in training as a Reader.
The Foundation course will give you an all-round theological base. I have been learning about biblical history in the Old Testament, Jesus’ ministry and the gospel writers – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament. The history of the church has included the early theologians such as St Augustine of Hippo. We have looked at the development of the Nicene creed, which was very interesting. Each week you will have to read and listen to videos, then critically analyse the material and use your experience of faith to ‘post’ answers to question on a forum. I have found that this way of learning allows me to see what others think, and gives me an opportunity to critique their work and for them to critique mine. We do an essay each term, to show our developing understanding of theology.You will need to like working on a computer. I am finding the course content interesting and varied.
Foundations is a broad introduction to all aspects of studying scripture, theology and the development of ideas from the early church to the present day. I learnt something new every single week, was stretched by the range of reading and loved the variety of ways of absorbing information. The flexibility to study at a time that suited me was brilliant, and the support from ERMC for writing essays and engaging with the material was great
2021 Summer Term dates
w/c Monday 19th April 2021
w/c Monday 26th April 2021
w/c Monday 3rd May 2021
w/c Monday 10th May 2021
w/c Monday 17th May 2021
w/c Monday 24th May 2021
w/c Monday 7th June 2021
w/c Monday 14th June 2021
w/c Monday 21st June 2021
w/c Monday 28th June 2021
Gathered stream session this term for each of the streams (Mission & Evangelism, Pastoral & Community Care, Teaching & Faith) will all take place on Thursday 8th July, 7-9pm.
C2 Safeguarding training – TBC
Autumn Term 2021
Induction session – TBC
w/c 20th September 2021
w/c 27th September 2021
w/c 4th October 2021
w/c 11th October 2021
w/c 18th October 2021
w/c 1st November 2021
w/c 8th November 2021
w/c 15th November 2021
w/c 22nd November 2021
w/c 29th November 2021
Stream Sessions – TBC
Spring Term 2022
w/c 10th January 2022
w/c 17th January 2022
w/c 24th January 2022
w/c 31st January 2022
w/c 7th February 2022
w/c 28th February 2022
w/c 7th March 2022
w/c 14th March 2022
w/c 21st March 2022
w/c 28th March 2022
Stream sessions – TBC
Summer Term 2022
w/c 25th April 2022
w/c 2nd May 2022
w/c 9th May 2022
w/c 16th May 2022
w/c 23rd May 2022
w/c 6th June 2022
w/c 13th June 2022
w/c 20th June 2022
w/c 27th June 2022
w/c 4th July 2022
Stream Sessions – TBC
Whilst Foundations for Ministry is a standalone course leading to commissioned lay ministry, it is also one of 2 courses along with the CMS course for pioneers that act as prerequisite for Reader training, other than in cases that qualify for an exception as explained on the Readers In Training page. Reader ministry is a wider ministry covering mission and evangelism, pastoral and community care and teaching the faith as well as leading worship, and can be exercised in churches outside of the local benefice due to being a licenced ministry. Reader ministry also offers further theological and ministerial depth. For these reasons Reader training involves 2 further years of training. Those to be licenced as Readers must be under the age of 70 at the time of licencing.
Those who are interested in exploring Reader training should indicate on the booking form that they wish to see a Vocations Adviser. Someone exploring Reader training can select any of the three streams (Mission & Evangelism, Pastoral & Community Care, Teaching the Faith), as all three streams equally act as a prerequisite for Reader training, as all three are involved in Reader ministry. Those wishing to explore Reader ministry should therefore select the stream that is at the core of their calling. Reader training will further cover all these areas of ministry.
There is no course fee to take part in this training but your time and willingness to be involved in the mission of God.
Booking for the Course
To book for this course please complete the online booking form here by Monday 19th July 2021 to begin the course in September 2021.
Your incumbent will also need to complete this online form here by Monday 19th July 2021.
The incumbent will need to enter on the form the date on which the PCC passed the resolution for the individual to train as an Enabler.