Churches Raising Up Pastors – Cornhill Training Course


9Marks wants to see more churches and pastors taking responsibility for raising up the next generation of pastors. To help our readers catch a vision for what that might look like, we asked several organizations closely tied to one or several local churches how they fulfill this mission. With one exception, each of the following organization answers the same 18 questions.

Here are the Cornhill Training Course’s answers (submitted by Christopher Ash). The Cornhill Training Course is based out of London, England.

  1. Organisation name
    Cornhill Training Course (a ministry of the Proclamation Trust)
  2. Year began
  3. Relationship between the organisation and the local church
    We are not tied to any particular local church but serve a wide variety of local churches on a non-denominational basis.
  4. 4. How many students per semester or year?
    We take in about 50 new students each September. Typically 12 to 15 of those are full timers for one year and the rest are part timers over two years. This means that at any given time our total student numbers are roughly 85.
  5. What’s the length of the program?
    Two years part time or one year full time.
  6. Does the program cost? How much?
    £1845 per year part-time, £2880 per year full-time.
  7. Is it full time? Are students allowed / required to be doing something else (work, study) at the same time?
    The normal way to take the course is two days a week over two years using the remainder of the time for an apprenticeship in a local church. A few students take the course over two years while continuing with a part-time secular job for part of the remainder of the week, and some students take the course full-time, four days a week, over one year.
  8. Is housing made available for students? Cost?
    No. The course is non-residential. Students live close to the local churches where they are placed.
  9. What are the program’s goals?
    Our aim is to serve local churches by training preachers and Bible teachers. We are a very practical course and all the work that we set is spoken work rather than written work. Over the period of the course, each student typically gives about twenty spoken presentations on Bible passages in addition to the teaching done in their placement church.
  10. What’s involved in the application process?
    There is an application form which may be filled in online through our website ( ask candidates to give the names of three referees, including someone in the senior pastoral leadership of their local church and their line manager or employer (if in employment) or their tutor or supervisor (if on an academic course).
  11. Can you give a brief overview of how the program works from the student’s standpoint?
    Full details may be found in “Prepared to Preach” available as a pdf download from the Cornhill section of Part-timers come to Cornhill on Mondays and Tuesday in the first year and Thursdays and Fridays in the second year. Full-timers come on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for one year. Students study of a wide variety of Bible books, work on principles of expository preaching and teaching, and study a variety of doctrine and practical ministry topics. They are also assessed in their Bible preaching and teaching.
  12. What responsibilities does the student have in a typical week?
    In addition to participating in lectures and small group discussions, students take part in interactive small groups for one afternoon each week (part timers) or two afternoons a week (full timers). In addition students take turns giving short expositions to the whole student body. They also participate in fellowship groups and share in practical cleaning responsibilities for the building.
  13. Any further opportunities or responsibilities for the student?
    Students are expected to participate in one or two of our week-long mission teams, in which we send teams to help local churches with their missions. We also have a reading week in the autumn in which students choose one of two selected Christian books to read and this is followed up with discussions and seminars afterwards.
  14. How many pastors are involved, how are they involved, and what’s the cost on their time?
    There are two full time pastoral staff and two part time pastoral staff, all of whom have been local church leaders but whose responsibilities now focus on training at Cornhill. In addition, a wide variety of pastors come in for one or two afternoons during the year. In addition, one or two pastors may come in to help us with one term’s worth of interactive small groups.
  15. How many non-pastoral staff involved and what do they do?
    We have one senior administrator for the course and two volunteer women pastoral workers who share in tutoring the women students. The male students are pastored by the four men on the teaching staff.
  16. What is this program good for accomplishing?
    Our aim is to train preachers and Bible teachers. We complement formal theological studies with a single-minded focus on the skills of expository Bible preaching and teaching.
  17. What is it not good for accomplishing?
    Apart from an optional New Testament Greek class, we do not cover Bible languages. Nor do we tackle systematic theology in depth or church history. All these important subjects are left for formal theological study at a later stage.
  18. Where are your graduated students now? What are they doing?
    There are over 800 men and women who have been through Cornhill over the past seventeen years. Many of them are now pastor-teachers in local churches or doing cross-cultural mission, youth or children’s work, or schools work. Others are back in secular employment.
Christopher Ash

Christopher Ash is Writer-in-Residence at Tyndale House in Cambridge. He is a pastor, speaker, and author of various books.

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