Where can I learn what I need to become a Lay Preacher?
According to the UCA Assembly’s Standards for the Ministry of Lay Preacher, there are three (3) main areas in which Lay Preacher Candidates need to be competent before they can be accredited.
- formation – understanding the ethos of the Uniting Church and, understanding the Code of Ethics for Lay Preachers
- Worship (including Biblical and Theological studies)
- Preaching (including Biblical and Theological Studies)
There are a number of ways Lay Preacher Candidates can undertake Biblical and Theological studies as they prepare for the ministry of Lay Preaching. The Synod of Victoria and Tasmania currently offers two (2) options for study:
- Presbyteries in partnership with eLM are offering access to online courses through the UCA Assembly’s Uniting Learning Platform. Contact your Presbytery to find out what courses are coming up. Introductory courses are available in Old Testament, New Testament, Theology and Christology.
- Pilgrim Theological College has Units from Bachelor level. Introductory units are available in Old Testament (Life, History and the People of God in the Hebrew Scriptures), New Testament (Earliest Christianity: New Testament Texts & Beliefs), Theology (Christianity’s Big Ideas), and Christology. There are also a number of other Units that would be useful for Lay Preaching. See another post (under “Learn”) and the Pilgrim Theological College website for more information.
There are also a number of ways Lay Preacher Candidates can undertake studies in Worship and Preaching. Some of the competencies are practical and require Lay Preacher Candidates to work with a mentor to achieve and be assessed for competency. Otherwise, studies within the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania are:
- Presbyteries in partnership with eLM are offering access to online courses through the UCA Assembly’s Uniting Learning Platform. Find out from your Presbytery when Exploring Worship in the UCA and Exploring Preaching in the UCA are being offered. These courses have been based on the UCA Standards and Competencies for Lay Preachers.
- Pilgrim Theological College has Units on Liturgy, including Liturgical Theology & Practice. When undertaking Pilgrim Units, Lay Preacher Candidates need to ensure they are still meeting the competencies for Lay Preachers. If in doubt, please contact your Presbytery or Mel Perkins, Lay Leadership Development Coordinator, eLM.
Lay Preacher Candidates also need to undertake learning in the ethos of the Uniting Church. This can be through attending Uniting Church Studies at the Centre for Theology and Ministry (CTM). If this is not available, contact your Presbytery for other options.
The Code of Ethics for Lay Preachers is covered in the online courses Exploring Worship in the UCA and Exploring Preaching in the UCA. If Lay Preacher Candidates are undertaking Worship and Preaching study elsewhere, additional training needs to be undertaken in the Code of Ethics for Lay Preachers. Talk with your Presbytery for options.
For more information, contact your Presbytery, Lay Preacher Association Presbytery representative, and Mel Perkins, Lay Leadership Development Coordinator, eLM.