Ministerial Training

Training for Church of England Ordinands

Jesus himself said the greatest commandment was to “love the Lord with all our heart, mind and strength” (Mark 12:30).

At Wycliffe we offer the best possible preparation for ordained ministry and leadership in the local church. 

Academic Study

It’s all about God and his Word

‘Theo-logy’, strictly speaking, is the task not only of enquiring into the nature of God, but also of speaking about him in ways that accurately reflect how he has spoken to us in Jesus Christ and in the inspired Scriptures. It is a response to God’s prior self-revelation.

At Wycliffe we engage holistically in the key disciplines of:

  • Biblical studies   
  • Historical studies 
  • Doctrine
  • Practical theology

We are convinced these will contribute vitally to our understanding of God and how we can truly be his disciples.

However, these cannot be isolated from each other and your tutors will ensure scripture, tradition and the life of the church are kept in a continual dialogue where the Word of God always has the prime authority.

It’s all about Growth

Growing through academic study is a critical exercise; at times it can be painful because it exposes the limitations of our understanding. Yet it is not intended to be critical for its own sake, but rather so that we may gain a deeper understanding of the reality of God.

Its purpose is to expose the limitations in our understanding so that our understanding of the Gospel can be widened and better grounded. This allows us to engage more freely with other traditions, while being more deeply rooted in the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

You may think that pursuing academic excellence will impede your growth in discipleship or your desire to be involved in God’s mission. This need not be so! On the contrary, we give our best attention to our theological studies precisely because we desire to understand the Scriptures as God’s Word to the Church, we long to know Him better and we want to be wise in living out our Christian lives.

Spiritual Transformation

‘Beholding the glory of the Lord [we] are being changed into his likeness with ever increasing glory; for this comes from the Lord who is spirit.’ 2 Corinthians 3:18

Here is the goal of Christian discipleship or spiritual formation. Christians are being made in the likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ. We do not arrive at theological college with lives like a blank sheet of paper, on which spiritual formation is written. All of us are being shaped all the time and many of us at Wycliffe will have been on the Christian road for some time before coming to college. The task while at college is to give this shaping special attention through all that we do and are.

Wycliffe provides the context and tools with which to work at our spiritual formation so that we are equipped for lifelong faithfulness to becoming more like Jesus.

Everything we do whether in the lecture hall, in private prayer, a cup of coffee with a friend or sharing the Gospel in the street contributes to helping us grow in faith and holiness.

Spiritual formation is above all a communal process. We do not become more like Jesus all on our own. It is as we learn and grow together that spiritual formation takes place in a biblically grounded fashion and so we seek to keep this goal in mind in every part of the life of the hall.

Practical Training

“I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task that the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the Gospel of God's grace” Acts 20:24

Going from Here to There

We are committed to giving you the very best possible training for your future ministry. Our staff have many years of parish experience and are passionate about it, believing that good leadership releases the ministry of the local church.  We are keen to invest in future leaders and allow God to do deeper work in you through spiritual and ministerial formation.

Our vision for practical training at Wycliffe is that it should not be separated from the foundational and vital work of good theological understanding and of personal transformation by the power of God’s Spirit. We minister out of who we are in Christ. So we expect you to grow in your personal relationship with God and also seek to become more godly in your character and life-style.

Our five key goals for you are to:

  • Grow in confidence as a Christian Leader; helping you to think through the responsibilities of pastoral leadership
  • Develop sensitivity in leading public worship; learning how to be aware of the needs of your congregation and the setting of your church
  • Preach and teach the Bible and become effective ministers; building your church and strengthening its ministry in the world
  • Gain experience in pastoral ministry; understand some of the complexities that you will encounter in pastoral work
  • Become more passionate about evangelism; sharing the Gospel with others, mobilising your church in mission, and being prepared to serve the needs of your community. (We are keen to encourage fresh expressions of church and church planting alongside traditional methods of parish mission.)

Female Ordinand Mentoring

Oxford Diocese has women in all walks of life, parish, chaplaincies, urban and rural contexts.

We have a number of contacts with women in various forms of mission and ministry, with whom we can link you up during your training.

Such a link may be for a college placement that is part of the assessment process, but it may be that you would like to have a one-off opportunity to ask questions and explore possibilities for future ministry contexts.

  • A termly mentoring session could be the best option.
  • Or it could spending some time shadowing a person informally as she goes about her daily routine. 
  • It could be for spiritual direction.

There are many possibilities but all aim at encouraging women as they prepare for ministry in today’s Church.


Ministerial training is broader than the formal course of study. But these courses form the backbone of training:

Three years

Two years  

Other pathways may match your individual needs more precisely, particularly if you’re considering research alongside ministerial training. Please email or phone Jo Wakefield in Admissions.

To find out more about a vocation in the Church of England click here