Study for an University of Divinity award can lead to further study and formation for endorsed ministry within of Churches of Christ. This occurs as students further explore their faith and call to Christian ministry in a journey with others. The process usually requires a minimum commitment of four years. Under normal circumstances undergraduate students will complete a Bachelor degree and a Graduate Diploma. Postgraduate students will complete a Master of Divinity and a Graduate Diploma.
Students can choose their elective units to focus on the kind of ministry they desire to undertake – in a local church, cross-cultural mission, youth ministry, chaplaincy or an emerging form of ministry.
The Ministry Formation process is complete when the student:
- Is recommended for endorsement by a Ministerial Discernment Panel operating under the auspices of the Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania.
- Successfully completes a minimum of two years of student ministry experience, which includes at least one year of Supervised Field Education.
- Completes a course of study approved by the Mission and Ministry Board of Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania.
Application for admission to the Ministry Formation stream occurs during the first year of study. People who are seeking endorsement as ministers within Churches of Christ will engage in a precise program of ministry formation. This program involves four primary stages or phases:
- A year of discernment (during which a formal application is made);
- A year of theological reflection on ministry (which involves a 16 hour per week placement);
- An SFE (Supervised Field Education) year (which involves a 16 hour per week placement);
- A year of consolidation (which involves a supervised ministry placement).
The list below gives an overall map of key events that will mark the steps towards endorsement.
Phase 1: Year of Discernment
- Invitation to consider God’s call with lecturers students and churchFormal application to enter ministry stream Application to Churches of Christ Vic/Tas Endorsement Taskgroup, in November.
- Police check
- Letter indicating Taskgroup’s recommendation to Conference
Phase 2: Theological reflection on Ministry
- 16 hour week placement
- Supervision – to meet 12 times
- Fortnightly peer group meetings directed by SFECoordinator
- SFG (Support and Feedback Group – church based)
- Serving and Learning covenant
- Seminar on ethics and ‘code of conduct’
- Interview panel with panel made up of representatives from wide cross section of Churches and Conference at end of year, including assessments from faculty, mentor, church, SFG
- Letter affirming continuation within the ministry stream months may be granted to part-time candidates.
Phase 3: Supervised Field Education
- 16 hour/week placement
- supervisor – to meet 12 times
- weekly peer seminar
- Support and Feedback Group (SFG)
- Serving and learning Covenant
- Theological Reflection paper – exploring operational theology.
- Interview panel at end of year, including assessments from faculty, supervisor, church, and (SFG).
- Letter affirming possible Provisional Endorsement
Phase 4: Year of Consolidation
- 16 hour/week placement
- Monthly peer group (with optional fortnightly & site visits)
- Supervision (12 times)
- SFG – Support and Feedback Group
- Spiritual direction (Established by the end of year)
- Interview Panel at end of year, including assessments from faculty, supervisor, church, SF
- Letter affirming possible endorsement and outlining process to ordination.