Flourishing in Ministry
Liz Turton has been really blessed by the Flourish course for women in ministry at London Seminary. We asked her to explain why it has been such a benefit to her work and ministry.
The Flourish course is designed for women (including ministry wives) who are active in a recognised church role that involves ministry to other women.
I first heard about it when I attended FIEC’s Thrive Conference for women’s workers. At the time I was doing the first year of the South Central Gospel Partnership ministry training course which takes place at St Ebbes, Oxford, but was unable to do the second year due to other commitments. I wanted to continue to do some sort of study to help equip me in my role as women’s worker and Flourish seemed ideal - especially as it was only one day a month and didn’t involve any written homework or exams!
It was a bit of a trek for me to London Seminary in Hendon, but well worth it as I was able to share most of the journey with someone else doing the course. It was lovely to be able to share in each other’s lives and to talk through the things we’d learnt during the day, although one morning we were so busy talking we missed our turn off on the M1 and ended up arriving rather late!
The shape of the course
The mornings were quite heavy and stretched me academically as we looked at understanding and applying different parts of the Bible and looking at various doctrines.
I found I definitely needed a dictionary close by when I did my Bavinck guided reading. But I’ve been quite surprised at how many times some of the things that we studied have come up in a Bible study and I’ve been able to look back at my notes and have a fuller understanding. So, although it took me out of my comfort zone, I have definitely benefitted from it.
In contrast to the mornings, the afternoons were really practical as we focused on how we can care for, support and encourage women in our churches in their different situations. Different women from around the country led these sessions covering topics such as singleness, marriage, parenting, coping with pressure and dealing with conflict.
I found these sessions enormously helpful and have been able to use plenty of the material in my own church setting and ministry. I have also found it a real blessing to chat with the other women on the course and share ideas. It has been such an encouragement to hear how God is at work through their different ministries.
One of the real advantages of Flourish is having a mentor. I met up with an older lady in our congregation who is the wife of a retired pastor. It was really helpful to talk, discuss and pray through some of the things we covered on the course learning from her experience and wisdom. It was so helpful that we have decided to continue meeting even though I have finished the course.
If you are a women’s worker or ministry wife can I encourage you to think about doing this course?
Bill James is the Principal of London Seminary and commenting on the Flourish course he added:
“Women’s ministry is a vitally important part of the life of our churches which needs to be encouraged and developed. Women’s workers, and often pastors’ wives, are at the forefront of this ministry and need to be trained and equipped to face the challenges of this work.
We are delighted that Flourish has been so well received; we are now running the course in both London and Manchester, and hope to launch in Bristol in September next year. If you are interested in attending the Flourish course, please book early; we are already receiving applications for September 2019.”