Lay Formation & Education Resources

Lay Formation for Ministry and Discipleship

Many parishes have small groups that use a range of study resources approved by the parish priest. Information about these groups is available in each parish.

Some parishes have decided to undertake a formal study program so that parishioners can be formally authorised for ministry. The Bishop has approved The Australis Certificate (formerly the Trinity Certificate). This is a six-unit course, conducted in small workshop groups in your parish or region facilitated by a qualified tutor.

Australis Certificate of Ministry

The Australis Certificate of Ministry equips people to reflect on their faith, ministry and discipleship in the context of their everyday lives as part of a community of learners.

There are six study units in the course. Units are conducted in small groups facilitated by a qualified tutor. The Bendigo Anglican Diocese awards the Australis Certificate of Ministry to students who complete the six units of study.

The Certificate course is ideal for anybody who wishes to learn about and deepen their faith. Current students include:

  • Christians wishing to explore issues of faith and church
  • people involved in worship and music ministries
  • retirees who wish to study in new leisure time
  • people testing their vocation
  • members of parish pastoral teams
  • people engaged in Church agencies and welfare organisations.

Australis Certificate has an Australian Anglican “flavour”, most obvious in Unit 4 but present throughout. Students from all backgrounds who can sit comfortably with that perspective are welcome and are never expected or required to agree. Spirited discussion is always encouraged!

Cost: $60 per subject = $360 for the full Certificate.

Find out more:
Australis Information Brochure

Spirit of Invitation

Spirit of Invitation is an initiative of the Diocese of Toronto. We’re a kind of creative working group, built on the idea that mission and discipleship are inseparable from one another, and seeking to explore our Christian faith through a variety of media.

Spirit of Invitation has developed Invited, which is a series of short films and a written resource, both aimed at exploring the shape of genuine Christian invitation. And, who knows? We might just have more projects in mind.

“Invited is a series of short films exploring genuine Christian invitation”

We begin with the conviction that invitation is at the very heart of the Gospel – that Jesus invites each one of us to come and follow him, and being an invitational people is at the very core of our identity as Christians.

From there, we offer thoughts, images and dreams – and we hope that you’ll join the conversation.

Invited is also a written resource, intended to be used by groups and communities to help foster conversation about and exploration into the breadth and length and depth of invitation.

Episode 1: Table explores the invitation that we’ve all received in Jesus as the starting place for all of our conversations about invitation.
Episode 2: Home explores our preconceived notion of what Christian invitation might involve.
Episode 3:Joy explores the way that joy grows and spreads from one person to another.
Episode 4: Us explores our own stories and experiences of invitation.
Episode 5: One explores the place of invitation within the midst of our often fragmented lives.
Episode 6: Go draws upon material from the first five episodes to explore the concept of invitation in our Christian identity, in our communities, and in our lives.

Cost: free

Find out more:
Spirit of Invitation Brochure


Education for Ministry (usually abbreviated as EfM) is an adult learning program that seeks to enable people to see and to experience the connection between Christian faith and daily life.

In small learning groups we find out what that means and how we can each be part of God’s mission for the world. How can we, as part of the body of Christ who reconciles the world to God, share in that ministry wherever we are – in worship, in service to others and in proclaiming God’s Word?

Many people come to EfM wanting more understanding of the Bible and the Church, as well as support in day-to-day ministry. Some want skills training to be better listeners, or to help others to faith or to support those in need. Some want to make connections between their faith and their everyday experience. These are the kinds of individual needs which EfM seeks to meet.

“Education for Ministry” or EfM as it is referred to, I believe, is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to not only broaden their knowledge of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, of the History of Christianity and of the Church but also to draw closer to God and to our Christian friends through a program that encompasses so much.   A four year course is certainly a daunting thought to begin with, but it was really just the beginning of an ongoing journey.  There is an old saying “what you get out of something depends upon what you put into it” and my four A4/6cm folders grew to eight A4/6cm folders during those four years!

The thing I appreciated most about this course was not only the personal study I undertook, but the sharing of worship session, the discussions and reviews of the assigned work, and the personal presentations that we were each called on to make.  Common lessons which led us to undertaking “Theological Reflections” was a wonderful experience which certainly helped the group grow together, encourage one another, and support one another in our times of need.

The fact that each night we discussed not only the lessons we had learnt this week, but also listened to the discussion and talks on those participants who were in a different year to us as all four years worked simultaneously along the way.  This not only reinforced our learning, but prepared us for our future journey as well.

– The Reverend Judy Walsh

EfM also runs an online version: you participate in all the same activities as face-to-face groups: discussing readings, reflecting theologically, worshipping together and forming a supportive and close learning community. We click a link to a website and everything we need to be in the group is there. It is the same platform (Blackboard) used my many universities that offer online courses. The platform allows each member to have their own login and password, so the site is secure and our discussions remain confidential to the group.

Cost: annual group fee is $1050 and the individual enrolment fee is $185 – both include GST.

Find out more:
Education for Ministry Brochure

Bethel Bible Series Australia
(Sponsored by Adult Christian Education Foundation Australia)

The Bethel Bible Series aim is to increase adult biblical literacy from a lower high-school level to a lower tertiary level . It is non-denominational and of benefit to anyone in that range or even beyond.

“I encountered Bethel in my Uniting Church days (early 1980s), where I found it an excellent foundation for further studies. Probably the best thing I did!”

– The Reverend John West

The Bethel Bible Series is the natural starting point to an understanding of the Scriptures, because it is a step-by-step “overview” progression which starts at the book of Genesis, proceeds methodically to the book of Malachi in the Old Testament, covers the ‘Intertestamental Period’, then journeys through the New Testament from Matthew’s Gospel to the book of Revelation.

The course runs over two years. The first year comprises 28 studies of two hours each, covering the Old Testament. The New Testament is similarly covered over the second year. Typically there are four terms of seven studies each year (run concurrently with school terms).

The Bethel Bible Series was deliberately designed to provide the average church member with an enjoyable learning experience because it is pitched within their comprehension ceilings.

Brief Summary:

Scope: Old and New Testaments. Improving Bible literacy. Giving an overview of the Bible with sound context for further study.
Duration: 28 studies per year over two years  (7 studies over 4 terms). 2 hours per study, plus reading assignments for homework.
Cost: $25 each term = $200 in total.
What you need: A Bible (preferably a Study Bible), highlighter and pen, an A4 four-ring folder, $25, commitment to attending all studies.
Other Details: There is a picture for each study summarising its concepts. The approach is evangelical. Sound principles of interpretation are taught to avoid the distortion created by an unnecessarily inflexible literalistic reading of the text. Participants have invariably found that they have grown in their knowledge, appreciation and application of Scripture in their daily lives.

Find out more:
Bethel Bible Series Brochure

Ridley Certificate

The Ridley Certificate is an online video Bible course for individuals and Bible Study groups. Deepen your faith and expand your Bible knowledge.

Taught by experts: Join leading scholars from the Ridley Faculty and guests from around the world

Six video lessons per subject: Each lesson has up to 40 minutes of video content, plus handouts and bonus resources to explore.

Multiple choice quizzes: Practice questions at the end of each lesson prepare you for a final multiple choice quiz at the end of each subject. Answer 65% correct to pass the subject (with unlimited attempts).

Achieve at your own pace: Complete 4 core subjects & your choice of 6 electives to earn the Ridley Certificate of Bible and Ministry. Subjects are available for 15 weeks once you enrol, but there is no time limit on completing the Certificate itself.


Bible Overview                    6 Lessons $80.00
Gospel & Life                       6 Lessons $80.00
Knowing God                       6 Lessons $80.00
Isaiah                                     6 Lessons $80.00
Reformation Revisited       6 Lessons $80.00
Revelation Unwrapped      6 Lessons $80.00

Ridley Small Groups

Ridley Small Groups offers short video lectures and discussion questions drawn from the biblical studies subjects of the Ridley Certificate specially adapted for Small Groups. Ridley Small Groups is the perfect resource for your next bible study series. Each series includes 12 sessions for use in a group setting. Access to the material costs $120 per group, per series, for 26 weeks. The material is available for the group to use at their own pace.


Journey Through The Psalms
1 Corinthians
Revelation Unwrapped

12 Video lessons: Each subject offers 12 short video lectures adapted for groups from the Ridley Certificate content.

Discussion questions: Lessons includes carefully crafted discussion questions for the group to explore together.

Take your time: Once purchased, each subject is available for an extended period of 26 weeks — that’s almost twice as long as a normal certificate subject.

Find out more:
The Ridley Certificate Brochure

Learning to Preach Like Jesus

This is free resource is for any preacher, written by the Reverend Kesh Rico Govan, Canon for Fresh Expression and Ministry Innovation in the Newcastle Anglican Diocese. It includes discussions about Jesus’ approach to preparation, passion, people’s needs, storytelling, language, humour, questions,  scripture and more.

“As I stand before the people of God, week after week, teaching and preaching the Word of God, I have a deep passion to introduce the God of the Bible to the people: the God who is there for them, the God who loves lost sinners, the God who forgives, the God who welcomes home the wayward child, the God who restores, the God who gives hope…

The goal in preaching is not be a great preacher but to be an effective preacher. Hitting this goal consistently is a complicated, multifaceted enterprise that plays with my head and my heart. I am humbled when I remember that God even spoke through a donkey in the Old Testament.”

– Rev’d Kesh Rico Govan


Download a free copy of Learning to Preach Like Jesus 


Other Resources