EfM (Education for Ministry)

Oh God, you have made us in your image, and matured us by your grace. We thank you for giving us ways to recognize you, for your hiddenness, for the variety of your creation, the gift of sight, and for this EfM community. We ask that you allow us to see you in others, and help us to see ourselves and others through your eyes, so that we may develop powerful and loving ministries, and continue to learn your way of life. Help us lead others to your light. All this we pray through Jesus Christ your son. Amen.

A collect developed by an EfM group in response to a Theological Reflection on a camera

EfM stands for Education for Ministry, a program of The School of Theology Programs Center of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee (Sewanee). The goal of EfM is to prepare lay persons to live out by word and deed the promises made at baptism — to love God, to serve Christ, and to proclaim the Gospel. Ideally, EfM enables baptized Christians to relate their faith to their lives and ministries in the world. For information about where there are groups, or help starting your own group, or Mentor Training in the Diocese of California, contact Roberta Sautter nixile@earthlink.net or Stephen Southern sps0131@gmail.com.

  • EfM is NOT “bible study,” although studying the bible is part of the program.
  • EfM is Group Spiritual Development. It is not group therapy.
  • EfM is a program of lay theological education that includes both individual study and group work in seminars under the guidance of trained mentors.
  • EfM groups have 6 – 12 people and one or two mentors.
  • EfM groups normally meet once a week for 34 weeks, spread over an academic year of about 9 months. 
  • EfM meetings usually include worship, discussion of the texts assigned for that week, and either a common lesson or Theological Reflection.
  • EfM Mentor Training is held once a year in the Diocese of California, in late summer. Information about upcoming Mentor Trainings and online registration available here.

Over the course of the four years, EfM students work with the Old and New Testament, biblical exegesis, systematic theology, church history, ethics, liturgics, ascetical theology, and contemporary theological issues. In the seminar groups, students share the stories of their faith journeys and reflect on issues from their lives, their ministries, and their studies. The program is designed to enable group members to make connections between biblical tradition, studied personal experiences, their own ministries, and the world in which they live. Through the shared life and study of the seminar group, insights and learning lead to both increased knowledge and spiritual growth.

EfM Sample Lesson
What is Theological Reflection?
Sample agenda for a meeting 
A Creed developed by an EfM group
Sewanee EfM website