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Formation and training

A room of people in small discussion groups. In the foreground tow young men are pointing at a mobile phone screen

Training pathways

The Local Ministry Programme (LMP) has three strands or tracks that you could follow:

Our courses have been crafted for you to explore ministry, mission and leadership. We build local leaders for local ministry. Whatever route you follow, your training will give you a supportive, expert local forum from emerging leaders, ordinands, and LLM candidates.

Download the brochure

Theology Hub

The Theology Hub is a new collaboration between the Diocese of Guildford and Guildford Cathedral.  We are also grateful to friends at the University of Surrey for their involvement. We are building a community for theologians and for the theologically curious across the Diocese. Our aim is to profile rigorous academic theology that warms the heart and serves our mission in the area. We will do this in three primary ways:

  1. Gather for large events. These will be lectures and dialogues featuring leading academics in theology and in other disciplines. These events will be the focal point of our community as we gather to learn from leading international scholars about how their research is relevant to the Gospel in the 21st Century.
  2. Support academic theologians. We know academic research can be a lonely road and so we are building a community for people engaged in post-graduate work across the theological disciplines. We will build a community in which we can share research and encourage one another.
  3. Serve the churches across the Diocese. Theology exists to serve the local church and our vision is to hear from church leaders across the diocese as to how we can offer bespoke training and cater for their unique needs in facilitating their vision.

Coming up

Check back soon for the next Theology Hub event.

Foundations in Ministry

Foundations in Ministry (FiM) trains and equips lay leaders in local churches. 

Local churches appoint leaders (actual, emerging and potential) as Lay Associate Ministers, or LAMs, and send them on the Programme. LAMs join a supportive community to explore what leadership might be like and grow in confidence. It is based on a robust theological framework. Over the course students are encouraged to journal, to share their learning with others, and to pursue reading and further development.

The programme is part-time across two years. It is spread over the course of an academic year from September to July, with six Saturdays in person, and small group meetings online between. If you would like to express an interest in joining the next FiM programme starting in Septermber, complete and send this form to Rachel Bader, FiM Administrator. 

Year 1 Foundations in Ministry modules

The first year lays the theological and leadership foundations. Study includes:

• The Bible
• Theological doctrines
• Leadership - self-awareness, leading others and growth
• Spirituality - spiritual disciplines, evangelism and mission

Year 2 Practical skills training

The second year offers practical skills training in a chosen specialism:

• Children’s and families ministry
• Youth ministry
• Community outreach
• Digital church and online media
• Discipleship, preaching and teaching
• Ecology and creation
• Pioneering, church planting and evangelism
• Church management and safeguarding
• Pastoral care
• Chaplaincy
• Contemporary sung worship
• Service Leader

Entry requirements and assessment

LAMs must be aged 18 or over.

There are no requirements of preparation or assessment. There is no interview process.

Each applicant will need to give evidence of support from their church’s incumbent and complete the Basic and Foundation Safeguarding Training. The expectation is that each LAM will either already be serving in or beyond their parish, or that clear and real opportunities to serve will be available to them. The course fee is £360 each year, which is usually covered by the sending church.

The programme is led by Matt Grove.

Training for Licensed Ministry

Ordination and Licensed Lay Ministry

Training for Ordinands and Licensed Lay Ministers is a modular course and it’s open to all interested learners, or those who might be exploring a vocation in ministry. 

If you’re still exploring your vocation, you might like to visit the Vocations pages for more information and support. 

We offer training for both ordinands and Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs) in the Church of England. It is an exciting, demanding, faith-stretching and equipping programme. Anyone who enters authorised ministry in the Church of England will embark on a guided journey of thinking through their vocation, and ultimately will go through a selection process. Those who successfully complete this process, whether for ordained or lay ministry, undergo a specified training programme.

Who runs and accredits LMP?

The Local Ministry Programme for Guildford Diocese is part of the Mission Team’s remit. We are one of four partners (with Sarum College in Salisbury, and the ministry training programmes from Oxford and Winchester dioceses) in the South Central Theological Education Institution (SCTEI). It is accredited by the Church of England and validated by Durham University. 

Who is this course for?

Our students are ordinary people who are training for ministry as Ordained or Lay Ministers, or parishioners who want to further their knowledge about the Christian faith – see more below about studying a module only.

Our primary role is to train Lay and Ordained Ministers who will be locally deployed in parishes around the diocese: these will usually be self-supporting ministers. But because many of the skills associated with being a minister are common across many different roles, the LMP is a good hub-point to provide some parts of training for other diocesan roles, such as Occasional Preachers, Worship Leaders and Lay Pastoral Visitors. Sometimes parish Incumbents also join us for a subject refresher or further studies.

How long is the training?

This will vary depending on the qualification you are aiming for at the end of your specific training, but it is typically done on a three-year, part-time course.

LLMs are licensed after 2 years (with a strong encouragement and warm invitation to stay on for a third year), and ordinands study with us for 3 years.

What is studied on the course and what qualification do you get at the end?

The course is a blend of practical ministry-related subjects and ongoing study and assessment. We focus on leadership, multiplication, and being agile, yet faithful, in light of the contexts in which we serve and the changes in society and the church. Modules include:

• Preaching
• Theological reflection
• Foundations for mission and ministry
• Christian worship and spirituality
• An introduction to the Bible and more in-depth work on the New and Old Testaments
• Mission and evangelism, apologetics and church planting
• Historical, systematic, and pastoral theology

The majority of students complete the course with a Diploma in Higher Education in Ministry Studies. Some continue to complete a BA(Hons) after they are licensed or ordained.

How does the academic year unfold?

The training programme begins in mid-September each year and is based on three terms of about 11 weeks each.  The course is modular, usually covering one main module subject per term.  Behind this are 'formation for ministry' related subjects woven throughout the course.

Where is the course run from?

Most teaching sessions are held in a central Guildford venue on a Monday evening.  
The evenings begin with gathered Evening Prayer at 7.00pm, and the teaching is delivered between 7.30pm and 10pm.  In addition, each year, there are three residential weekends and three Saturday Study Days.

How much does it cost?

Most of the costs are met by the national Church of England, and the sending church for each student contributes £1,250 per year of the programme.

Can I have a taster of one of the study days?

Yes. You are very welcome to arrange to visit on a Monday evening, with no expectations of going any further. We will give you some course information, then you can drop in on any teaching session, and have an opportunity to ask questions of students and tutors. It is also possible to put you in touch with current and previous students who will be willing to share their experience of ministry training.

What are LLMs?

LLMs are trained for lay leadership in their local church and are authorised by the Church of England to teach, preach, lead worship and give pastoral care. They are leaders in mission and ministry in their parishes and personal life.

LLMs are selected for LLM training by the Diocese of Guildford.

What are Ordinands?

Ordinands are training to be ordained in the Church of England. We train ordinands who know that their calling is primarily local, and who see their ministry as sharing in the leadership of their parish church and local area. Ordination training is for those who have been recommended for training by a Church of England Bishop.


If you would like more information on Licensed Lay Ministry, please contact Ros Fox, our Warden of Licensed Lay Ministers.

If you would like more information on ordination, please contact Craig Holmes, our Diocesan Director of Ordinands.

Studying a module only

If you would like to dip your toe in the water, do come along and sit in on some individual Modules on a Monday evening (which usually last for a term). The cost is £120 per module.

Modules, such as 'Introduction to the Bible' and 'Mission and Evangelism', are ideal for developing overall knowledge and understanding, and are open to ‘auditing students’ - listeners - who wish to explore their faith and vocation without training for ministry.

These are some of the subjects you can study as a module, and when: 

Autumn term

• Introduction to Christian Doctrine and History

• New Testament Studies (for those who have completed the Introduction to the Bible module.) 

Spring term

• Introduction to the Bible

• Mission and Evangelism

• Old Testament Studies (for those who have completed the Introduction to the Bible module.)

Summer term

• Topics in Christian Doctrine (for those who have completed the Introduction to Christian Doctrine and History module.)

If you would like to study one or more LMP modules, please contact the Team Administrator Rachel Bader.

Caleb Stream – ordination for mature Christians

Caleb was strong and vigorous in exercising his ministry well into his mature years (Joshua 14).

This one-year course exists to train mature Christians in church leadership, with a particular focus on discerning whether ordination is the right route for their service. The programme combines discernment and training for ordination in one year. Candidates will already be rich in Christian leadership and life experience, in mission and service in parishes across the Diocese of Guildford. Students can be deployed as self-supporting ministers, usually back into the local context in which they are already serving.

Who is the course for?

Mature Christians who have life and church leadership experience. Participants must be 60+ and be able to be ordained by the time they are 70. Students are not guaranteed to be ordained.

How long is the training and what does it involve? - Over one academic year candidates complete bespoke, high-quality, training, alongside their current job or role. The training will draw on the strengths and gifts they bring and invest in the ministry God is calling them to step into. The cohort will journey. The course includes:

• One day of guided personal study each week
• One day of group teaching and learning each week
• Up to six residential weekends
• A parish placement (largely in their own parishes, under the supervision of their incumbent)

Will it be assessed?

Yes, there will be a mixture of assessments through presentations, journaling, essays, site visits.

Will all candidates be ordained? - Students are not guaranteed to be ordained. At the same time as training, candidates are supported through the national discernment process for ordination, aiming for a recommendation in time to be ordained the following autumn.

How much does it cost?

Each Caleb student contributes £750 for the year, the sending parish contributes £1,250.


If you would like more information or a formal application pack please contact Craig Holmes, our Diocesan Director of Ordinands or John Valentine, Dean of the Local Ministry Programme.

More to study

There are additional courses and learning opportunities offered through the Diocese of Guildford all year round, on all kinds of subjects and which are open to all. See what else you can study.

Ongoing studies

LMP offers a BA (Hons) in Ministry Studies for an additional two years' study for those who have completed the Diploma. For those who have a Diploma from another university, we can offer a Graduate Diploma in Ministry Studies over two years of study.  Please contact the Director of Studies for more information.
Lifelong learning

After ordination or licensing, ministers continue to learn through ongoing assessment and training. Learn more about what happens next:


John Valentine
Dean of the Local Ministry Programme (LMP)

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