Resourcing Ministerial Education

The guiding vision of Resourcing Ministerial Education is of a growing Church with a flourishing ministry. From the time of the Acts of the Apostles, the Church has needed to reflect on the provision of ministry as the Spirit guides and forms the Christian community. In Acts 1, we read of the appointment of Matthias. In Acts 6, a growing Church needs new forms of ministry and the seven are set aside to support the work of the apostles, to offer ministry to the Hellenistic communities and for the work of carrying the gospel to new places.

In Acts 14, at the end of the first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas returned to the places where the church has been planted and "appointed presbyters for them in every church" (14.23). In Acts 20, in Paul's speech to the Ephesian presbyters, we are offered a window on the care taken in the early church in the formation of those who will exercise ministry (diakonia) and oversight (episcope) of their own lives and of the Church of Jesus Christ.

So in our own generation as we prayerfully consider the call to make disciples and proclaim the gospel afresh, the Church of England needs to reflect deeply on the provision, formation and support of lay and ordained ministry in dioceses and parishes.

The Body of Christ needs ligaments and sinews to continue to grow up in every way into Christ, the source of our life and hope (Ephesians 4.15-16; Colossians 2.21).

The RME proposals respond to the aspirations of the dioceses expressed for their future requirements for ministry and leadership. These were principally that dioceses wished to halt decline and to grow. The key requirements stated by the dioceses were:

  • increase in the supply of ministers to close the gap between the projected number and the aspiration of the dioceses to both sustain and innovate
  • a new emphasis on mission, collaboration and adaptability to changing needs
  • more ministers suited for new forms of church and non-traditional settings
  • development of lay ministries alongside ordained