Eduction for the Ministry

 EfM Groups

The EfM group is the heart of the EfM programme, where people meet regularly for discussion, reflection, worship, prayer and fellowship.

 Who can join an EfM group?

Anyone can join an EfM group: EfM is an adult learning programme with participants aged from their 20s to their 80s. EfM is particularly suitable for those who may have undertaken other Christian education or Bible study and are thirsty for a course that delves more deeply into scripture, faith and life.

 How often does an EfM group meet?

EfM groups meet weekly for 2-3 hours. The EfM curriculum is designed for 36 weekly sessions over a 12 month period.

 Where does an EfM group meet?

EfM groups can meet anywhere - some meet in people's homes, others meet in church lounges.

 How long does the EfM programme last?

Group members sign up for one year at a time. The whole programme takes four years, and may involve some extra time to cover the additional New Zealand material.

 How big is an EfM group?

An EfM group comprises 6 to 10 members.

 Who leads an EfM group?

A trained mentor who has been accredited by EfM trainers leads an EfM group. Sometimes groups have a co-mentor, to assist the mentor and gain experience in mentoring alongside the mentor.

 What is the role of the EfM mentor?

The mentor is guide, enabler and companion, who facilitates group discussion and leads the group through the process of theological reflection. Group members are responsible for their own reading and preparation (about 3-5 hours each week of their own time), attending group meetings, and actively participating in the discussion and group activities. The mentor does not teach the material.

 What happens at each meeting?

An EfM meeting involves worship/prayer, fellowship, discussion of the readings, and other group activities such as theological reflection. Once a group is established, group members share responsibility for leading worship.

 How many groups are there in New Zealand?

There are groups in various locations around New Zealand. Some of these groups are “single level” groups, in which all members are at the same year level. Other groups are “multi-level” groups, involving members at various stages of EfM study. This model works because the study material (specific to each year level) is only one part of what an EfM group does together. The Reading and Reflection Guides draw out common themes for reflection and discussion across all years of study.

 How do I join an EfM group?

EfM groups can start at any time of the year, when a trained mentor is ready to start a group or recruit new members. Contact the Administrator who will put you in contact with a current group that is accepting new members, or will record your details to pass on to a mentor when starting a new group in your area. A group needs a minimum of 6 members plus an accredited mentor in order to start.

 I am interested but there is no local mentor or group I can join ‒ how do I encourage my parish or faith community to start EfM?

The first step is to identify someone who might be a suitable EfM mentor and encourage them to attend mentor training. It is helpful, but not essential, for a mentor to have done EfM. Potential mentors need to have done some theological study, have good small group facilitation skills, and be able to foster a group environment of mutual respect for diversity. Mentor training events are held regularly in various parts of the country. Click here for details of forthcoming training events.

 What if we have a few people interested but not enough to start a group?

EfM is well-suited to involving people from different Christian faith communities. Several groups based in Wellington, for example, draw together people from several parishes across the city. EfM is also ecumenical, and is a good way to establish links with other local churches.

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