Vision and Philosophy of Training
As the vision of the training of the diocese is ‘to train pastors and members which are committed to build strong local churches throughout Sabah and beyond that are passionate in worship, powerful in preaching and prepared for effective mission and evangelism’, the School of Ministry and Mission (SOMM) ensures that its training carries the same vision.
Training of Pastors and Ordinands
Specifically, the training of pastors and ordinands is at the moment, the main focus of SOMM. The Diocesan Certificate of Ministry (DCM) aims to form the basis for this training. The requirement for the certificate is to complete the Moore Theological College (MTC) External Studies Certificate (ThC) and the Diocesan Practical Ministry Modules (PMM).
This process of training differs from the conventional model where students are entrusted to a theological college or seminary for a number of years. The current method employed in the Diocese of Sabah requires the respective local churches or parishes to play the key role in mentoring and shaping the students’ character. This is due to the fact that the students are only required to attend residential tutorials two times a year. For each time they gather at the SOMM residential tutorials they will spend three weeks, going through two tutorials of MTC subjects and two PMM modules. They will also be sitting for another MTC subject exams in two other instances locally in their own church, invigilated by their own priest/pastor.
With this model the students will spend most of their time at their respective churches. This benefits the local churches as they will be able to retain the service of their staff. It will also benefit the student as experience would tell, pastoral ministry, especially in the context of the Sabah diocese requires one to have good discipline – hence an early establishment of working-cum-studying habit would be essential for any future church leader, in particular pastors and ordinands. Meanwhile, the diocese will also have the opportunity to train more students with limited resources and ensure that all students at this level are aware of the vision and ministry philosophy of the diocese.
However, although students awarded with the DCM are generally eligible to be licensed as ‘pastor’ by the Bishop, the training for ordinands does not stop at DCM. The next level which the potential and qualified students (generally verified and recommended by the Diocesan Vocation Committee) could go to would be the Diocesan Diploma of Ministry (DDM), which requires the students to be further trained in various aspects. To ensure that they are capable of leading for a long run to fulfil the vision of the diocese they will be required to be trained in hermenuetics, contextual theology, mission studies, Christian spiritualities, homiletics and various pastoral ministry modules such as church management, prayer counselling, evangelism and worship leading.