Extension Schools of Christian Ministries (ESCM) – ETS External Studies Division

The European Theological Seminary of the Church of God offers External Studies Programmes which under certain conditions are transferable into the residential studies programme for undergraduate credit. These studies are offered through the Extension Schools of Christian Ministries/ESCM set up by the National Churches of God in conjunction with the Seminary. The conditions for establishing and operating these schools are listed later in this catalogue. The course offerings and schedules are determined by the Director of the national school in agreement with the Director of External Studies and under the conditions laid down in the ESCM catalogue. The following general information and presentation of the programme is drawn from the ESCM catalogue.

Description

The Extension Schools of Christian Ministries offers courses in Biblical, Historical & Theological studies and Practical Ministries for mature Christians who wish to prepare for Christian Ministry or to improve their ministry skills. They are operated under the auspices of the Division of External Education of the European Theological Seminary of the Church of God. The programmes of studies are distinct from those of the residential studies division. However, courses completed at College Level are transferable where applicable into the Seminary’s Undergraduate Studies Division.

Purpose

The purpose is to provide training for those who will not be able to enrol in the residential programme, but who plan to enter the ministry; or for those who are already actively involved in ministry, and therefore wish to improve their ministry skills. This shall be achieved through courses of study which integrate the learning of ministry skills with the foundational studies necessary for Biblical-theological formation. It also serves as a preliminary for students who wish to prepare for leadership ministries, such as pastor, missionary and teacher.

Format

The flexible educational programme allows one to study courses through distance learning and extension centres. These may offer the instruction in a variety of ways such as evening classes, weekend seminars and short-term intensive seminars, and vacation schools.

Programme

Two programmes of training for Christian Ministries are offered through the Extension Schools of Christian Ministry. The first of these relates directly to ETS, operating at three levels. The Foundations Course Certificate is the basis, followed by an advanced programme which leads to the Certificate in Church Ministries. With a part-time supervised practical ministry internship, running concurrently with the final two years of study, plus the submission of a senior paper the student can qualify for the ESCM Diploma in Christian Ministries.
Many ESCM centres also offer the Ministerial Internship Programme (MIP) designed by the Church of God General Education Department, or the CIMS program of the Church of God School of Ministry, which can be studied for College credit. CIMS courses may be studied as part of the ESCM and a guide to the appropriate course titles and numbers follows later.

Admission

Academic entry requirements are limited to a reading and writing knowledge of the language of instruction. However, candidates for College credit must have a High School Diploma or GED Certificate (Graduation from Secondary Education or equivalent, viz. twelve years total of primary and secondary education). However, those students who show good comprehension of the study material at Institute level and good study abilities with an GP average of 3.0 (B), and have at least 7 years of ministerial experience can be considered for enrolment at College level.
Students who wish to continue their studies in the Seminary’s residency programme are expected to meet the normal admission requirements for undergraduate studies.

Orientation

Each ESCM student is required to take part in an annual Orientation Session conducted by the National ESCM Director. It serves the threefold purpose of orienting students to the programme of studies, getting acquainted with new students and conducting placement tests.

Course syllabi

Course syllabi are written under the supervision of the ESCM Director in conjunction with the ETS Academic Dean. They must be approved in advance in order to warrant both compliance with the requirements of the residence programme and transferability.  Sample syllabi are available from the ESCM Director.

Evaluation of student learning

The evaluation learning outcome is carried out by the teachers according to the guidelines of the ESCM manual and under the responsibility of the ESCM Director. Grading and record keeping should be in conformity with ESCM guidelines.

Flexibility

The beauty of the ESCM programme is that it is very flexible.  Students work part-time, but each ESCM centre arranges its own timetable e.g. once per month, two weekends per month etc.
On average the Foundations Course takes 2 years, the Certificate in Church Ministries, with concurrent internship, leading to the Diploma, a further 3 years.

Academic Credit

Participants in the programme may receive academic credit at Institute or College Level by examination. Satisfactory completion of the Foundations Course at College Level allows entry into the second year of residency studies at the European Theological Seminary, and other accredited Colleges who operate the External Studies Programme, if other requirements are met. It further allows entry into the second year External studies. College Level Credit requires the completion of extensive study with each credit unit demanding from 12-15 hours of self-study. These normally include extensive readings from a course bibliography (up to 200 pages per credit unit), reading reports and one research paper. Institute Level Credit requires less academic work with the self-study assignments more limited. They include small group interaction, report and limited reading assignments.

Credit Transfer

Credit obtained through the ESCM programmes at College Level is transferable where applicable into the residency programme at undergraduate level for obtaining the E.T.S. Diploma in Church Ministries, or B.Th. Therefore students intending to pursue their studies in the residency programme should:

  1. Consult the catalogue of the residency programme and opt for a programme
  2. Select their courses carefully in accordance with the requirements of the respective programme so as to be able to transfer a maximum of courses.

Similarly credits earned through another recognized school or programme may be transferred into the Foundations Course.

Senior Paper 

Students who apply for admission to the Diploma in Church Ministries need to give evidence of having acquired the skills to research and share their findings with others. For that purpose they are expected to write a 35 page paper (1½ spaced) on a topic related to their studies, in accordance with accepted paper writing guidelines, which reveal the student’s ability to integrate theory with practice. A copy is to be kept on file with the student’s record by the respective Extension site registrar.

ESCM Extensions

  • Institut für Leiterschaft und Dienst (ILD)
  • ESCM, Fellbach, Germany
  • ESCM, Mainz, Germany
  • LSCM, Latvia
  • ESCM, Nepal
  • ESCM, Dublin, Ireland
  • Bethel Bible School, Zambia
  • ESCM, East Africa
  • ESCM, Uganda