Since its launch in Spring 2016, Threshold School of Ministry (TSoM) has seen an increase in the student enrolment of 150%. An adventure in faith - both in terms of a new approach to theological education and in the formation of candidates for ministry, the new school has quickly started to gain traction.
"Our school was birthed out of a strong conviction that the formation of individuals for ministry in the 21st Century needs to be radically different," says Shawn Branch, Senior Leader - TSoM. Whether you are an academic or not, it's plain to see that the world is a different place than it was 50, 20, even 10 years ago. Our communities are different, society is changing, churches are struggling and seminary graduates struggle to gain solid footing in a rapidly shifting context. "We can, and must, equip people better," Branch adds.
Through Jesus’ teaching model, we see that He journeyed with people, talked with, shared teachings and then sent them out to experience and put into practice what He taught. And then He welcomed them back and processed their experience with them even as their formation and education continued. That is the model that Threshold School of Ministry follows. Offering both a Diploma and Master's program, TSoM has developed the core of their training to operate as a 3-year modular program, where students gather together in the Spring and Fall, for 2-week intensives while the remainder of the semester sees them involved in local ministry, within their discerned field. Between modules, TSoM staff share the journey with students through the use of social media and virtual meeting technology.
Enrolment has increased from 3 students in the first semester to 8 students, primarily through word of mouth. Threshold School of Ministry offers an alternative to traditional seminary education - not as a replacement but rather an affordable, and real-world option for ministry preparation featuring first-class teachers from across Canada and the U.S. Through the merging of academic, practical and spiritual formation, the program is aimed to reach students who are looking for a flexible model of education and one which will give space to test out their vocation.
"We knew something had to change - I was hearing this at meetings all over the country. We took a risk and have been in awe of the response - from students, faculty and denominational leaders," comments Branch.