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To improve your ability to lead within your own church


The Baptist Training Partnership (BTP)
If you are a deacon, elder, preacher or other church leader, the BTP will help you serve your local church better. It is a collaboration between the colleges and the regional associations to provide a common, high-quality syllabus for local church leaders. Topics covered include reading and using the bible, evangelism and mission, leading worship, preaching, Baptist history and principles, pastoral care. The level of teaching is roughly equivalent to ‘A’ level, though you do not need any prior qualifications. With most colleges, BTP training is delivered in a modular fashion so you may choose to study as few or as many of the twelve modules as you wish. Each module has two days of taught content and an optional assessed assignment. Successful completion of eight assessed modules fulfils the learning component required by the Baptist Union to become a nationally recognised preacher. All twelve assessed modules are required should you wish to become a nationally recognised pastor.     
With Bristol Baptist College, the twelve BTP modules are delivered in either Bristol or Exeter through their Prepare, Feed and Sustain programme. Each module is delivered over two Saturdays, with up to four modules and hence eight Saturdays per year, on a three-year rolling programme. You can dip in and out and study only those topics you fancy, or you can sign up for a year at a time. Completion of all twelve modules over three years will gain a certificate from the college.

With South Wales Baptist College, the BTP modules are delivered through their Pathways programme in either Cardiff or a church in the region. Teaching takes place on one Saturday per month except for in August. Each module spans two Saturdays. If all twelve modules are taken, you can complete the entire programme in just over two years. You can join the rolling programme at any point or sign up for just those modules of interest to you.   

With Spurgeon’s College, the BTP modules can be studied in London, Cambridge or Birmingham, under their Equipped to Minister programme. In London especially you will mix with learners from other denominations. Teaching takes place on the same Saturday each month throughout the year, with each module taking two Saturdays. The entire programme can be completed in two years. You can join the rolling programme at any point or sign up for just those modules of interest to you.

With Regent’s Park College, the BTP is run rather differently. You cannot pick out individual modules, but instead sign up for Footsteps, a one-year programme of ten Saturdays. If you go on to complete a further year of ten Saturdays, you will cover all the BTP modules. What this format loses in flexibility it gains in community and participants have a strong sense of journeying together throughout the year.  Training takes place in church venues in either the Central Baptist Association or the Southern Counties Baptist Association. The Footsteps programme also includes a couple of optional modules aimed specifically at equipping those working with children, youth and families.

Further opportunities for learning
Northern Baptist College no longer offer the BTP programme. Instead, they are developing Edifi, a blend of online, virtual class room and face-to-face learning which is ideally taken by church leadership teams rather than by individuals. The first module, on how to discern Jesus’ will, is being piloted at present and if successful, further modules will follow. Alternatively, church leaders can join the Latchford Learning Centre in Warrington, a project run in partnership with the North West Baptist Association. This gathers a community of learners together on one Monday each month in order to learn from each other and from visiting tutors.

If you wish to explore more deeply a calling to Christian service and are a theology student or an intern, say, then Bristol Baptist College offer Disciple-Makers. This is a year-long training course in which you join the college’s ministers-in-training for their Wednesday formation programme. You will be part of a pastoral tutor group, share in theological reflection and worship, have access to the college library and receive personal supervision.

If you wish to develop practical skills and insights rather than academic learning, Spurgeon’s College offer over twenty Christian Training Initiative resource packs. They cover topics from essential Christian beliefs right through to mission in rural communities or prison ministry. You can work through the packs in your own order and time, or you can join with others at your church and learn together. Each pack has an optional, short assessment and the college offers three levels of commendation depending on how many pack assignments you complete.

In all cases, for more information, please contact the college nearest you to discuss the training options. 

Photo: Mathias Jensen on Unsplash
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