For the past five years I have been working as a high school science teacher in the Liverpool region, but while serving at church I was encouraged to explore full-time ministry. My ministry commitments and responsibilities at church grew and I reached the point of needing either to cut back on ministry to concentrate on teaching, or cut back on teaching so that I could be trained in ministry.
While I would have preferred the ministry option, getting theological training would have meant moving away from my home and church in Liverpool to go to Bible College somewhere else in the UK, yet my intention was to invest more in my church, not move away!
When I learned about the AT3 programme my hope was that through AT3 we could find a pathway into ministry which would involve theological education and ministry experience while still serving my church in Liverpool.
Through the AT3 programme I have been able to arrive at a really great balance between studying for ministry, working in ministry, and keeping my old job too. I’m receiving formal postgraduate theological training as a part-time distance student at WEST, meaning I can train for ministry without needing to move away. This has allowed me to work for Christ Church Liverpool for two days per week, giving me the opportunity to serve my local church and grow as a minister.
In regards to my theological training, the WEST course involves studying as part of a ‘learning community’ where I am able to study alongside others in a similar situation. This year I look forward to studying Old & New Testament Studies, Church & Mission, and Biblical Hebrew.
At church, I serve as an elder, lead a small group, co-ordinate and lead music and lead a team serving international students at our church. I am also part of our staff team, so I get close contact with all kinds of other ministries at church and have regular supervision meetings with one of our full-time pastors.
This is an ideal solution for both myself and Christ Church: for me because I am now moving in the right direction towards full-time ministry; and for Christ Church, having encouraged me towards ministry, they are able to be a part of my training and have me continue to serve as part of the staff team.
The plan for the future is that after two years, God-willing, I’ll be both trained and experienced for a full-time ministry role, perhaps as an assistant pastor or even church planter.
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