Introducing a new training course for Kent
There are almost 1.6 million people living in Kent; where will they all be in 100 years - Heaven or Hell?
This is the question that drives us in the Kent Gospel Partnership. We long for the people of our county to be won for Christ, so the hope and prayer of our mission statement is to see churches working together for gospel growth throughout Kent.
What are we planning?
We are at an exciting point of development. God willing, in 2022, we aim to launch a regional ministry training course. The aim is to serve and support local churches as they seek to ‘to equip [Christ’s] people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up’ (Ephesians 4:12).
For one day a week over a year we aim to deliver a Bible overview, basic Christian doctrine, Bible handling skills, applied ministry topics (delivered by experienced ministers) and workshop groups. We anticipate that completing the course would count as credit towards joining the second year of Cornhill (F2).
We hope to appoint a half-time Director of Training post soon.
Why a new training course?
Teaching and training are biblical imperatives and, as Jesus said, ‘the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few’ (Matthew 9:38)*. There is a desperate need for more trained workers in Kent: at school gates, in offices, factories, homes, shops, and churches. We need more believers equipped to have evangelistic conversations with their neighbours, build one another up, serve in children’s and youth work, lead Bible studies, and preach God’s word. We long to see women and men of all ages and stages of life with strong biblical convictions filling our seats and serving as leaders so that God’s church might flourish in Kent for His glory. There are several courses which train people to do just this and we are thankful to God for them. Nevertheless, we think there are at least three compelling reasons to start a new course here in Kent:
Local training multiplies ministry. Church planting research shows that more churches means more people in church**. Another training course will mean more people equipped for gospel ministry. We know that outstanding training courses, like Cornhill and the Sussex Gospel Partnership Ministry Training Course already exist. For some their location or specialism may make them a better fit. However, we hope to attract additional people who may never otherwise have the opportunity for such training.
Local training strengthens the church in Kent. The Sussex Gospel Partnership found that their training course took the partnership beyond just the pastors. We hope that a course would provide a natural opportunity for ordinary Christians around Kent to growth together with a depth of training that any local church would be hard pressed to provide. We hope that this might lead to all kinds of outcomes such as local churches being revitalised, new ones planted, youth and children’s workers working together and collaboration on local missions.
Local training lowers training costs. We are aiming to make our course affordable. We envisage charging in the region of £200 per term (for comparison, London Cornhill is £570 per term) and expect attendees to have much lower travel costs. We hope this will benefit churches and attract a wide background of students. For the first year the course is likely to be run in Maidstone, but once established, we plan to move to other venues on demand.
*See also Matthew 28:16-20, 2 Timothy 2:2, Ephesians 4:12
**Tim Keller, Why Plant Churches? pp.2-3
How to support us
Partnering with the KGP is one, but by no means the only, way evangelical churches in Kent can express the regional solidarity, and family unity won for us by Christ. You may be involved in a denominational partnership but we hope you might still consider joining the KGP. There are unique benefits to cross-denominational groupings, not least the opportunity richly to encourage churches and pastors who lack local support from their own associations. We think there are lots of things we can do better together – not least a training course.
Commiting as a partner
Regional partnership will involve some sacrifice, but God willing, also great blessing. This is the pattern that Christ has left us.
While we encourage whole-church partners to commit to the partnership, we realise there are reasons that this may not be possible. So, Christian workers can also join as individual partners.
There are three main commitments we ask of partners:
Doctrinal. Partners annually endorse our doctrinal basis, mission, ministry values, and strategy. You can find out about these on the summary page included with this letter.
Relational. Partners commit to praying for the partnership, furthering our mission, and attending the three annual regional partners meetings. We ask that at least one nominated representative attend (and encourages others to accompany them).
Financial. Partners commit to giving. We think of this not as a “subscription fee” but as a “partnership contribution” to support the advance of the gospel in Kent. Presently, this money would primarily be used to support the half-time Director of Training post as well as funding our Administrator. We are pursuing three main avenues to raise the funds:
Course students. We anticipate charging £200 per term.
Christian grant-making trusts. If you know of any looking to support this kind of work please let us know.
Contributions from partners. Following the Sussex Gospel Partnership model we would like to suggest partner churches donate around £10 per church member per year. A church of 100 adults might consider donating £1000 per year. We realise not every church may be able contribute at this level. We would not want this to stop you partnering with us. For further information or if you would like a breakdown of the figures please email us. We suggest individual partners make an annual contribution of £60.
How to donate
Our bank details are as follows:
Sort code: 30 98 97
or use the Paypal button below.