EfM Seminar Groups
The seminar group is the nucleus of the Education for Ministry program. A group consists of six to twelve participants and a trained mentor who meet weekly over the course of a nine-month academic year. These meetings are usually from two and a half to three hours in length.
Through study, prayer, and reflection, EfM groups move toward a new understanding of the fullness of God’s kingdom. This process can be illustrated by a two-rail fence. One rail is the Christian tradition. The other is the collective experience of the group’s members. The rails are linked by fence posts which represent the seminar sessions where life and study meet. The fence is grounded in the soil of regular worship which is vital to the life of the group.
Participants are given weekly assignments to study with the help of the EfM Reading and Reflection Guide. Participants are responsible for setting their own learning goals. They spend between two and four hours in study and preparation each week. In the seminar participants are invited to share their insights and discoveries as well as to discuss questions the study materials raise for them. Through discussion and guided reflection, the seminars furnish an opportunity to deepen understanding of the reading materials.
More important is the development of skills in theological reflection. The goal is to learn to think theologically. By examining their own beliefs and their relationship to our culture and the tradition of our Christian faith, participants can learn what it means to be effective ministers in the world. In coming to terms with the notion that everything we do has potential for manifesting the love of Christ, we discover that our ministry is at hand wherever we turn.
The seminar is supported by a life of prayer and regular worship. EfM groups are encouraged to develop a pattern of worship appropriate to their situations. Liturgical materials are furnished with the course materials.
Seminar groups work under the leadership of mentors trained by Education for Ministry who serve as guides and administrators. They are not teachers in the traditional sense and are not tasked with imparting information about the Christian tradition or the contents of study. The role of the teacher is built into the program materials. A mentor is an enabler rather than an informer. Mentors may be lay or ordained persons.
EfM Inclusiveness Policy March 2021 applies to all EfM training events and group seminars.