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Being Prepared

'Prepared for Service' is our part-time ministry training course, and last week the new term began for the students. David Cook, who along with his wife Laraine administers the course, gives us a snapshot of what’s involved in being “prepared for service”.

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Prepared for Service (PfS) began in 1994 and has trained 325 men and women since then. A third of them are now in full-time Christian ministry – and all serve in increasingly effective ways in their churches. During September three recent graduates, after additional Bible College training at WEST and Oak Hill, have been inducted as pastors. It’s so encouraging to look back and see how God has used PfS to equip his people for service.

This month saw the start of the new PfS term, with 12 new course members joining returning students to make a total of 33. They come from the Isle of Wight, Gloucester, South Wales, Herefordshire, Cambridge, Essex, London, Kent and the Home Counties. Some are church apprentices, pastors in training, youth workers, full-time Christian workers and those in full-time employment.

PfS is a part-time residential training course with 8 three-day modules a year. The course is held at The Carey Centre in Reading and is taught by serving pastors from across the country. Church members in the local area provide accommodation and hospitality for course members who are enriched by their prayerful and practical support.

The course content for this month included Bible Overview (Simon Medcroft), Theology (Paul Mallard), Biblical Manhood (Bill James), Bible Handling (Peter Comont) and Leadership (Andy Paterson). This was the first module in the two-year course and so for many it was helpful to see the beginnings, overall perspectives and to make useful links. One student observed that it was good to be reminded that “Christ is the key to understanding the Old Testament”. Those who began their second year on the course presented summaries of Bible Handling for four passages to the new students, one of whom commented that this was ”a fruitful session with great participation and contributions”.

We heard feedback from students saying that they had learned “to be more in awe of God and to praise Him”, “that leadership is about character and influence” and “to study and dig deeper into the Word of God”. One reflected that “I wish my wife could have been here” and another that this was “one of the most helpful sessions I have ever been to”.

Please pray for the students, that they would manage their time well in the intervening two weeks before the October module, so that their daily work, theological study, family and church responsibilities receive the right priority at the right time. Some are looking to God to provide opportunities to speak from the Bible, some for guidance about new responsibilities in their church situations, some for the resolution of health concerns and others who need wisdom to manage the concerns and complexities of family life. Pray that they will be able to share with people in their home churches and put into practice some of the things they have learned.

PfS has two “entry points” for new students every year – September and February. If you would like to start the course in February 2013 then you must apply before November 19th 2012. Find out more here.

David Cook photo
David Cook

David is married to Laraine and together they are responsible for the organisation of FIEC’s Prepared for Service course. They’re both members of Lansdowne Baptist Church in Bournemouth, where David is one of the elders.