Phase 3 of Ministry

Phase 3 of Ministry

Empowering and Encouraging Early Ordained Ministry to Thrive

“Habits and practices instilled during the initial years of ministry have a shelf life that impacts one’s pastoral practice for years to come.”

The first three years following one’s first placement and ordination is a crucial time in a person’s life and ministry. In the Uniting Church in Australia, the Third Phase of Ministry Formation is a natural progression from Phase 1 (Period of Discernment) and Phase 2 (Core Phase). It is part of one whole integrated educational and formation experience. In Phase 3, the opportunity to learn, grow and develop with peers in ministry practice is vital and strongly encouraged.

The fundamental purpose is to give ordained ministers “better practice” support and training that relates directly to the unique challenges of encountering ministry as an ordained minister for the first time.

The Third Phase of Ministerial Education is intended to be a period of sustained and intentional mentoring and support for newly ordained ministers during the first three years of ministry practice. It is to be a period of increased partnership between the Presbytery, the placement context and the newly ordained minister to assist the minister to make a smooth transition from the Core Phase into active and responsible ministry and to develop lifelong habits of engagement in professional development activities such as professional supervision and continuing education (see Assembly Phase 3 Guidelines, July 2010).

A vital principle in the design of this phase is the need for Third Phase participants to have more focused support and peer learning opportunities than those in Phase 4.

Accountability lies with Presbytery and the following suggestions for training and support will be carried out by Vital Leadership at UME on behalf of the Presbyteries through an ongoing letter of agreement of collaboration.

Phase 3 Program in NSW/ACT

The Third Phase of Ministry Formation program will include:

  • A mentor provided by Presbytery and trained by a mentoring training program developed at the Synod level. This is in addition to regular pastoral supervision mandated in the UCA Code of Ethics.
  • An Early Stage Third Phase retreat is facilitated by Vital Leadership mid-April each year. This provides a space for newly ordained ministers in new placements and those awaiting placement (often in supply) to peer-reflect on ministry and mission practice, the joys, challenges and learning.
  • An annual retreat – during the second half of the year – is facilitated by the Head of Vital Leadership, which includes opportunities for reflection in community, and some structured learning around topics that are alive and relevant for the participants.
  • A number of half-day seminars and workshops throughout the year, to involve a variety of people with expertise contributing input and a peer reflective learning process (these can be online or face-to-face). The topics to be based on research of the needs and comments of previous ministers in this phase.

Some possible topics are:

  1. Theology of self-care.
  2. Conflict management.
  3. Resilience and adaptivity.
  4. Spiritual practice.
  5. Community formation.
  6. Resources.
  7. Compliance, risk and safety in ministry.

Ministers in their Third Phase will be encouraged to join or form a community of practice, providing opportunities for mutual support and regular reflection on ministry practice.

Ministers in their Third Phase will also be encouraged to maintain a Continuing Education agreement, via unitinglearning.org.au platform with their Presbytery appointed person. All of the above will be communicated to those leaving college in the final seminar of Phase 2.

More Information

For further information, queries or questions, please submit the enquiry form provided below:

Phase 3 Program Enquiry

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or contact:
Ben Gilmour | UME Head of Vital Leadership
BenG[AT]nswact.uca.org.au