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 (LLW) 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, taking a leading role in pioneering, such as a leading role in a church’s local Reaching New People team for discernment, involvement in developing and leading a new worshipping community, engaging with those outside the church, and enabling others to participate in pioneer activity – will be commissioned as Pioneer and 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.
Documents to download
The Enabler Handbook
Statement of Arrangments for Pioneer and Mission Enablers
Statement of Arrangements for Pastoral Enablers
Statement of Arrangements for Discipleship Enablers
Enabler Review form
The liturgy for commissioning Enablers.
In order to receive the letter of permission from the bishop for commissioning as an Enabler, those who successfully complete this course will also be required to complete the online Safeguarding courses – Basic Awareness Module and Foundations Module. Both Basic Awareness and Foundations modules can be accessed online via the Church or England National Safeguarding portal and will take approximately 150 minutes to complete.
The Basic Awareness and Foundation certificates need to be renewed every three years. The parish is responsible for ensuring that Enablers keep up to date with safeguarding requirements.
It is recommended that the parish considers obtaining a basic disclosure for the Enabler, unless the Enabler has an up-to-date DBS check due to another role in church which requires aa DBS check. Information on basic disclosures can be found here: Safeguarding Newsletter Dec 2018
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.
The content for each half term will be made available online via ERMC’s Moodle in five week blocks and can be accessed at any time. This will allow participants greater flexibility for engaging with content. The recommendation is to complete one session per weeks. Those on the course are also expected to then engage on the online discussion forum for each session 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.
Attendance & Engagement
It is essential to access the weekly content on Moodle, regularly engage on the discussion forum, and attend the twice termly stream sessions. If an Enabler cannot attend a given stream session, then they should send apologies in advance and will be required to write a 250-word piece on the session after listening to the session’s recording – no more than 1 stream session can be missed to complete the course
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
There is no course fee to take part in this training but your time and willingness to be involved in the mission of God
The deadline for bookings was Friday 29th July 2022.
19th September – 2nd December 2022 (half term – week beginning 24th October)
Plus two stream sessions detailed below
9th January – 24th March 2023 (half term – week beginning 13th February)
Plus two stream sessions detailed below
24th April – 7th July 2023 (half term – week beginning 29th May)
Plus two stream sessions detailed below
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). Twice 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.
Update note: for the course starting Autumn 2022 we have combined the Discipleship stream with the Pioneer stream, and this new stream is listed as Missional Discipleship in the table below.
|Date||Missional Discipleship Enabler||Pastoral Enabler|
|Wednesday 28th September 2022, from 7pm - 9pm on Zoom||Introductions and introducing theological reflection. Reflecting on our own missional contexts and discipleship journeys||Principles & Practicalities of pastoral care for both the church and local communities|
|Wednesday 30th November 2022, from 7pm - 9pm on Zoom||Introducing Contextual Mission and Pioneering||Applying Module 1 to pastoral care in the local context|
|Wednesday 25th January 2023, from 7pm - 9pm on Zoom||Missional Discipleship with a focus on Youth and Children||Pastoral care for youth, children and families|
|Wednesday 22nd March 2023, from 7pm - 9pm on Zoom||To be confirmed||Applying Module 2 to pastoral care in the local context|
|Wednesday 10th May 2023, from 7pm - 9pm on Zoom||To be confirmed||Pastoral care in pioneering contexts|
|Wednesday 28th June 2023, from 7pm - 9pm on Zoom||To be confirmed||Applying Module 3 to pastoral care in the local context|
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.