Training for Ministry
Once candidates for ministry have successfully completed the enquiry and assessment process, they will undertake a comprehensive programme of training and formation.
This comprises three strands: academic requirements, a conference programme, and a series of practical placements.
The precise nature and content of these vary according to the particular ministry. This applies to candidates for ministries of word and sacrament, the diaconate, and the readership.
Let us take you through the training process, step by step
A series of conferences with a comprehensive programme of seminars dealing with various topics related to ministry is provided as part of the formation programme for each distinctive ministry.
Topics covered include worship, leadership, preaching, pastoral care, issues of abuse, church law, and an exploration of different forms of ministry such as chaplaincy and funerals. All candidates undergo speech training and a course in safeguarding (formerly child protection).
During your studies you will also attend small groups known as Ministry Training Network, which helps cement your learning and experience in formation.
While your time of initial training will be intense, it is not possible for it to equip you for everything ministry will require. A commitment to continuing your own development will build on the training provided in the early years. Ascend is our platform to identify ongoing training opportunities, support and development. Our Integrated Training Programme will offer a growing selection of training opportunities.
On into ministry
Toward the end of your probation, and after successfully completing your final appraisal, you will be able to explore your next step in serving the church.
We help support you as you discern where God might be calling you to serve in the Church. Those who train for OLM and Readership especially look to their Presbytery for guidance in these matters.
Applicants accepted for training will be able to study for undergraduate or post-graduate divinity degrees at one of the Church of Scotland-affiliated colleges and centres located within Scotland’s leading universities.
As well as full-time study, remote and part-time learning opportunities also exist.
Our academic partners include:
- Christ's College, University of Aberdeen
- Highland Theological College, University of the Highlands and Islands.
- New College, University of Edinburgh
- St Mary's College, University of St Andrews
- Trinity College, University of Glasgow
Alongside the rigorous academic training modules, you will take part in residential conferences and schools run by our Education Team, where you will develop well-being strategy, pastoral care, serving sacraments, preaching and church law.
The appraisal process
Once candidates for the ministries of Word and Sacrament or the Diaconate have been accepted, they are subject to a process of regular appraisal. This is the process by which the Church assure themselves that all aspects of training have been completed in a satisfactory fashion.
No candidate can proceed to the next stage of training for either of these ministries without the previous year having been commended at the annual appraisal. A final appraisal is conducted and must be completed satisfactorily before candidates can seek a charge or appointment. This appraisal process does not at present apply to candidates for the readership.
Candidates for any ministry within the Church of Scotland have to undertake a series of practical placements during which they are attached to a local congregation under the supervision of a trained and accredited supervisor.
These placements vary in length and some are full-time, depending on the course of formation being followed.
All supervisors are given full training, including in-service, and are well supported by the staff of the Faith Nurture Forum in this most important task.
For those training for FTWS or Diaconate, your final placement will be a 15-month probationary period. For those training for OLM it will be 12-months.