Education for Ministry (EfM) is not your typical Bible study. Its roots are at Sewanee School of Theology, where it launched in 1975. It’s designed to nurture lay ministry through small groups that meet once a week during the school year. Over the course of four years, students study the Old and New Testament, the history of Christianity and modern-day spirituality and interfaith dialogue, discussing weekly readings, collaborating in theological reflections and sharing their spiritual journeys.
An EfM group meets at St. John’s on Tuesday evenings at 6:00, mentored by Barbara Johnson, who has been mentoring EfM for six years here. In 2018-2019, she’ll be joined by St. John’s communications director Cara Modisett as co-mentor.
"EfM is designed to encourage exploration of faith and to better equip participants for their personal ministries," says Johnson. "We aren’t biblical scholars or theologians but we are all learners interested in exploring our faith more deeply."
The 2017-18 session will begin in late August and run through mid-May, meeting weekly on Tuesday evenings in the conference room from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
We meet weekly as a group to discuss the readings, to reflect theologically, and to worship. The program spans four years in its entirety, but you commit to the program one year at a time. Reading and preparation outside of the seminar time is important to the value of the program.
The fee for the year, including textbook and other materials, is $375, payable, if possible, by June 1. Other arrangements can be worked out; scholarships may be available.
Seminar size is limited to 12 members.
For more information or to discuss joining the St. John's group, contact Barbara Johnson at 540-556-3397 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mitzi Dooley: "I have done many intense Bible studies through the years. However, nothing has affected me quite as profoundly as EfM. It challenges me intellectually and spiritually and has caused me to rise to another level of maturity in my journey with God. Additionally, I have been blessed in a deep and meaningful way. My first year EfM class was an anchoring force during a time when I dealt with a life-threatening illness. I moved to a new city and changed EfM classes and found yet another nurturing community of depth and meaning. EfM is not a 'class' but rather a lifestyle."
Gates DeHart: "For my year and a half into EfM, I am most impressed with the astute commentary which accompanies the scripture readings, the diverse intellectual and theological perspectives of the participants and the openness and acceptance of many different ideas."
Unsigned: "I have enjoyed the fellowship of people of all ages and interests who are seeking answers to the big life questions. I also value the discipline of reading the whole Bible."
Brandy Stover: “EfM has challenged what I thought I knew about the Bible. It’s been an incredible learning experience that has deepened my faith.”
Wink Weaver: “EfM has been educational (of course) but, more importantly, spiritually challenging and enriching. I have come to understand better how we are all a ‘common’ community.”
Katie Elmore: “EfM has given me so much – a depth of knowledge and growth in my understanding of the Bible, a deeper appreciation for the long and broken history of people trying to live as God's followers, and, most importantly, a group of fellow pilgrims who journey into this work with me, people whom I cherish. If by any chance you are like me and never had an opportunity to read the Bible and study the lives and times of those in and responsible for the Bible, EfM is the perfect chance to do so."