What is EfM? (Hint: It’s not what you think!)

By Frances Hammond

Last year I took EfM. I loved the seminar experience with fellow EfM’ers. Together each week, we explored questions and perspectives that would not have occurred to me independently. We grew as Christians. It was a lot of reading, but I feel as though it changed my relationship with scripture and helped me to see the Bible as more of a starting point than an end.

Since I’m going to be a facilitator this year, I’ve been reading ahead a little and am really excited about the themes we will be exploring beginning in September.

I am also reminded that when I first saw the notice for EfM, I will admit, I just didn’t get it at first. And having experienced it, I see now why it’s a hard thing to describe in a 2-3 sentence summary in the church bulletin. So in case you’re curious but a little confused as well, here’s a quick summary:

EfM is neither a course in theology nor is it preparation for ordained ministry. It is 100% intended for lay people.

Its purpose is to provide an education in the content of the Christian tradition through reading the Bible alongside some basic biblical commentary. It also gives practical introductions to Christian theology and ethics. That sounds a bit dry, but it’s not, trust me!

EfM explores the wider concept of ministry, based on the understanding that baptism, the fundamental rite of entry into Christianity, marks our call to minister to one another in Christ’s name in the course of our daily lives.

EfM is a program in practical theology. It is a program based on a set of five core practices that form and support us in the various ministries to which we are called.

  • Living in Community
  • Regular Prayer and Worship
  • Theological Reflection
  • Study of Christian Tradition
  • Vocational Discernment – with the emphasis on our call to ministry in daily life

I’m especially excited about continuing to develop the practice of Theological Reflection in the coming year. In learning to view life through a theological lens, we see that everything we do has a potential for ministry and manifesting the love of Christ.


“Education for Ministry” or EfM is a 9-month study of scripture and theology created by an Episcopal seminary to offer lay people a deeper dive into the bible and the life-long practice of theological reflection. EfM begins the last week of September. More info and sign-up here.

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1 Comment

  1. Frances,
    You are leading us so well into EfM with these beautiful thoughts! I am looking forward to these studies with you.

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