The dictionary tells us that “minister” means to attend to, serve, support, sustain. How are we called to minister in our daily lives, and in our whanau together? How do we grow in our awareness of what it means to be partners with Christ in attending to, serving, supporting and sustaining each other? EfM (Education for Ministry – Exploring Faith Matters) is one of the tools that our Diocese affirms as a profound way to deepen and resource our discipleship together.
Exploring faith matters, learning to think theologically, discovering what God is calling us to be and do, day by day, and doing this together, is at the heart of EfM. The EfM program runs for four years, but participants sign up for one year at a time. The reading and reflection material which participants work in their own time, covers Hebrew Scriptures, New Testament, Church History and, in the final year, Theology, Ethics and Multi Faith Dialogue. A significant part of the EfM program is the weekly group meetings, where readings are discussed, worship is shared, a community of trust is built and theological reflection is done together. It is a program that allows for differing perspectives held with respect, and the ability to learn from each other is developed.
While a large piece of the EfM resource comes from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, there is also a ten-week section on the history of the church in Aotearoa-NZ, and EfM is delivered in New Zealand by an independent, ecumenical New Zealand body and New Zealand trained mentors.
For more info, see http://www.efm.org.nz. We are lucky to have an EfM group operating at St James’ in Lower Hutt, which meets on Monday nights, 6.15-8.15pm. If you are interested in joining the Lower Hutt group this year, or perhaps the Cathedral group which meets on Tuesdays, 5.45-7.45pm, email Jean on firstname.lastname@example.org.