CURRICULUM & METHOD
The Current Program. The Lay Ministry Training Program is designed to enhance knowledge and skills in seven key areas in a variety of settings. There are seven modules of study:
- Biblical Knowledge and Theology
- Congregational History and Polity
- Public Worship
- Pastoral Care and Practice
- Organization of a Congregation for Nurture and Mission
- Educational Ministries in the Church
- Pastoral Ethics and Conduct
Each module requires the student to master a body of knowledge through independent study. Added to this are areas of practical application of that acquired knowledge. Within each area, the student is required to obtain both a basic overview of the topic and some in-depth experience responding to issues of ministry raised by the topic. This happens under the guidance and supervision of a qualified mentor. The student is asked to reflect on the information and experience and is given a bibliography for further reading. At the end of each module, both the student and the mentor submit a review of the section that includes an assessment of the student's readiness to proceed to the next section.
Given the diversity of individual circumstances and of learning and teaching styles, the student and mentor are encouraged to explore a variety of approaches in engaging the material.
In order to complete the course in three years, the student must work through two modules per year. The student will be expected to draw on a variety of resources in completing the course. Some required readings are provided as part of the material. The provided bibliographies are not intended to be a reading list, but rather a source of information relevant to the study of the topic. The bibliography is not exhaustive, and it is expected that alternate resources will be utilized in consultation with the mentor. Many resources are available through the Congregational Library in Boston, Massachusetts and from the NACCC in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Students may also choose to purchase some materials to begin to develop a personal theological library.
The Mentor. Throughout their programs, students will collaborate with a mentor who is an experienced minister with a seminary degree or equivalent training. The mentor will be chosen by the Dean in consultation with the student of the Center for Congregational Leadership.
The mentor is responsible for providing support and guidance to the student throughout the program. This will involve spending adequate time with the student discussing what is to be learned, how the learning is to occur, and reflecting on and responding to what has been learned. The mentor will be expected to inform the Dean as the student satisfactorily completes each section of the course and may be asked to make other progress reports as necessary.
Certificate of Completion. On satisfactory completion of the Lay Ministry Training Program, the student will receive a Certificate of Completion from the local church supervising the program.