Foundations in Christian Ministry course: 2022-23

Applications are invited this month

The course is a major component of formal lay ministry training in the Diocese of Exeter.
It is the foundational year for Licensed Lay Ministry training

The aims of the course are:

  • to deepen your Christian discipleship
  • to give a grounded understanding of the Bible, Christian theology, and spirituality
  • to explore and help form your gifts for ministry and discern God’s call for your next step
  • to provide you with a foundation for further training in lay ministry.

The course’s objectives:

By the end of the course you will

  • have been introduced to the major elements of Biblical studies and Christian doctrine (at a level just short of the first stage of a degree)
  • have encountered a range of forms of prayer and expressions of Christian spirituality
  • understand the main principles of pastoral care
  • be equipped with skills to aid your involvement in God’s ministry and mission
  • have developed basic skills of personal journaling and reflection
  • have explored your vocation, with guidance, and talked with a range of others

The course consists of:

Study days

  • These are the heart of the course. They usually run from 10 am to 4.30 pm.
  • Each involves a mix of informal lectures and group discussions, on the Bible, Theology, Spirituality, Pastoral Care and Ministry skills, set within a context of worship.
  • There are seven study days between September and June, usually held in Exeter. Dates are Sep 24th, Oct 29th, Dec 3rd, Jan 21st, Mar 11th, Apr 15th, Jun 3rd.
  • Detailed timetables will be provided.

Tutor groups

  • At each Study Day you spend some time in small tutor groups. This gives opportunity to reflect on your experiences on the course with others, and on vocational exploration.
  • Between each Study Day, each tutor group meets for a ‘Stepping Stone’ meeting via Zoom.
  • A learning community.
  • The course group is a ‘learning community’ of people journeying and growing together.
  • You make a commitment to pray for others on the course.


  • You will be encouraged to keep a personal journal of what you have learned and experienced through the course, and your reflections on this.

Local discussion groups and written exercises

  • In the Autumn and Spring terms you should take part in a small discussion group in your local parishes: in the Autumn term as a participating member, and in the Lent term as a leader. These groups may use a particular course (e.g. Pilgrim, Alpha), be a Bible study group, or explore a locally chosen topic, with typically half-a-dozen sessions.
  • You are encouraged to do a number of short written exercises through the year. These include writing an article for your parish magazine or website, and a book review
  • The courses and written exercises aim to help you link the course with your local
    context and develop your ministry skills.

Local support

You are encouraged to discuss your experiences on the course regularly with either your incumbent or another minister in your parish.

  • This will help them to support your learning, and to understand how best to encourage the growth of your local ministry as a result.
  • You are also encouraged to keep your congregation(s) informed of what you are doing, so that they too can feel involved and support you on the course.
  • Your incumbent needs to support your course application.


  • Suggested reading will be provided for the different subject areas of the course.
  • Doing further reading will help deepen your learning beyond that covered on the Study Days. It is up to you how much you do.
  • You will need to purchase your own books, and you may wish to approach your PCC for financial support. You will have access to a wide range of theological books online.

Teaching staff

  • The course team consists of people engaged in lay or ordained ministry across the Diocese. The Diocesan Vocations Development Officer, Hannah Mears, is a contributor.
  • The course is overseen by the SWMTC Director of Lay Training, the Rev’d David Carrington.

Covid-19 context

  • Covid-19 precautions are taken as appropriate for the study days. The 2021-22 course has been delivered face-to-face.

For more information, click here to visit the website and to request an application form, contact the SWMTC Programmes Co-ordinator, Belinda Speed-Andrews: / 01392 272544.

SWMTC: adventurous faith | missional hope | grounded love