Associate Training

Associate session 1The church worldwide urgently needs good Bible teachers: godly men and women who know how to handle the Word of God. Our main aim is for associates to learn to hear God's voice for themselves in Scripture, and communicate this living word with clarity and force.

Discussion

All of our training sessions are interactive, with a strong emphasis on explaining, evaluating and defending ideas in light of Scripture. Bible teachers need to learn when to change their thinking and when to stick to their point; how to weigh conflicting views against the Bible; and how to persuade others of truths simply. These skills are increasingly important and untaught in our relativistic culture, and so we work very hard on them.

This style of teaching won't suit everyone, but many thrive on it. Our hope is that learning to think under the intense scrutiny of our workshops will equip associates to feed themselves and God's people for a whole lifetime in the study, small group or pulpit.

Ephesians frontpage grayscale

Depth

Our first of two weekly sessions works through a book or two of the Bible across the year. Our aim is to understand its key thrust, and so what each passage means in context. The associates study the text personally for a number of hours before meeting to discuss their conclusions under the close supervision of experienced staff.

Both the study and communication aspects of this format teach vital skills that Bible teachers need daily. Understanding God's voice personally in Scripture (rather than second-hand through a commentary) is vital to fresh, engaging preaching; and being able to convey God's message clearly and simply is needed in all fields of ministry.

Working together in these sessions is a huge privilege, as we can help each other understand and apply particular Bible books more deeply, sharpening their message for today. The books we are currently studying are:

  • The First year: Ephesians and Galatians
  • The Second year: Isaiah

Breadth

A mixed syllabus

The second weekly session looks at a broader range of topics, although the focus varies across the scheme:

  • The First year: preaching-practice workshops, and seminars on a wide range of theological issues, from cross-cultural evangelism to women's ministry, from Bible overviews to hot topics in the contemporary church scene.
  • The Second year: a Bible read-through, studying and discussing every book and its place in the Scriptural canon across the year.

Tailored training

Alongside our main training sessions, First Year Associates also choose one of three different training options:

  • Training in International Ministry (run by St Helen's staff who are working cross-culturally)
  • Training in Youth and Children’s work (run by St Helen's staff)
  • Joining Friday mornings at The Cornhill Training Course (for their 'Genres of Biblical Literature' series)

It is a privilege to benefit from Cornhill's excellent training, whilst many Associates hoping to be missionaries or involved in youth work have found it helpful to think through the specific issues involved in contextualising general principles of biblical ministry.

A large staff team

Breadth is also provided by the St Helen's staff team more generally, who are involved in a wide range of ministries. Much is learnt by osmosis at the staff meetings, as wisdom is shared on church planting, the nature of Christian ministry, and the shape of gospel work to different groups (e.g. Chinese churches, Muslim dialogue, local estates outreach, City workers at lunchtime, London students, prison work and so on). Many sub-teams organise their own specialised training for associates in a particular ministry area too, such as Student Bible study training.

Mentoring

Some of the most instructive training comes through personal mentoring. Alongside the three associate trainers, every associate has a personal supervisor with experience in their particular field to help them grow in their personal discipleship and teaching ministry. This is a great forum to reflect on lessons learnt, how to overcome difficulties, and how to make the most of the ministry opportunities.

 
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