Have you ever wished for more training in your church role? This is a need that leadership at Lilydale Seventh-day Adventist Church in Melbourne, Australia, were looking to meet when opening their “School of Ministry” in 2020.
Launched during Melbourne’s first COVID-19 lockdown, the venture offers nationally recognised Certificate 4 and diploma qualifications in ministry, chaplaincy, leadership, entrepreneurship, business, film and media, and music ministries. The aim is to equip members to serve more competently in their local church roles, give recent high school leavers the opportunity to gain a diploma qualification before applying for tertiary study in other fields or offer people interested in pastoral ministry a practical stepping-stone towards full-time study at Avondale University. It also allows those who are recently baptised to continue growing and learning once baptismal studies are complete.
“The pastoral staff at Lilydale can’t speak highly enough about seeing the Holy Spirit move among the students, growing their gifts and their spiritual walk,” said Lilydale’s associate pastor and director of the School of Ministry Faye Stothers. “All students study ‘spiritual disciplines’ and it really teaches them in creative and enduring ways how to connect to God and feed themselves spiritually, in preparation to feed others.”
The School of Ministry has partnered with Adventist aged care provider AdventCare to give staff an opportunity to upskill. With a shortage of staff, the option for AdventCare employees to complete a diploma of chaplaincy will assist in providing well-equipped aged care chaplains.
With a new term beginning in March, the School of Ministry is looking forward to continuing to grow its enrolment and support the ministry journey of its students.
“It has been an absolute blessing to watch people have those ‘aha!’ moments and hear comments like ‘I wish I had known this when I first started my role at church’, but the biggest impact comes when you see people who were previously quite reserved get up and preach, tell a children’s story or take a lesson class,” Pastor Stothers said.