Education for Ministry (EfM)
A favorite aspect of my vocation is serving as a mentor and as a trainer (a mentor for mentors) for Education for Ministry.
What is Education for Ministry (EfM)?
EfM is four-year Christian Formation program founded and administered through the School of Theology, the University of the South at Sewanee.
Through study, prayer, worship and reflection, EfM seminar groups journey together through scripture, church history and theology.
A seminar group consists of one or two mentors and up to twelve participants.
What does a seminar group do?
A seminar group meets up to 36 times during the course of a year. Years One & Two study the Hebrew Scriptures, the Gospels and the New Testament. Year Three looks at Church History. Year Four reads about systematic theology to develop and enhance their own.
During a weekly seminar, the group does 5 things:
Check-in - how has the group encoutnered and responded to God since out last seminar
Worship - participants lead worship
Reflect theologically (TR) - after agreeing upon a shared focus, the group examines tradition and culture, paried with experiences and beliefs
Study coursework - participants discuss insights and implications of assigned readings
Hospitality - the group spends time in fellowship
How does a seminar group work?
Participants are given weekly assignments to study using focus suggesions of the Reading and Reflection Guide. Adult learners are responsible for setting their own goals. They spend approximately eight hours in study, reflection and preparation each week.
During the seminars, the group has the opportunity to share insights and discoveries as well as discuss questions which the study materials raise for them.
Through discussion and guided reflection, the seminars provide the opportunity to deepen understanding of the reading materials.
Most important is the development of skills in theological reflection. Theological Reflection is an intentional disciplined discussion with the objective of identifying beliefs followed by response. What am I going to do this week based on what I belief. Through the examination of beliefs and their relationship to culture and the tradition of our Christian faith, participants learn what it means to be effective ministers in the world. In coming to terms with the notion that everything we do has potential for manifesting the love of Christ, we discover that our ministry is at hand wherever we turn.
The seminar is supported by a life of prayer and regular worship. EfM groups are encouraged to develop a pattern of worship appropriate to their situations. Liturgical materials are furnished with the course materials.