Education for (Lay) Ministry Program
  • Cultivating Lay Leadership
  • Responding to the Call of Christian Service
  • Shaping Faith into Action
Why EfM?

Every baptized person is called to ministry. The challenge for lay people is acquiring the tools to interpret the richness of our faith within a complex and confusing world. EfM develops an informed and discerning laity, deepening our faith and teaching us how to express that faith in our everyday lives.

Whether your ministry is at home, at church, or in the world, or, if you are exploring new ways to serve, EfM could be for you.

The Power of EfM

I am a witness to the power of EfM.  It was the late 1980s.  I was a new, but active, member of an inner-city church – on the Altar Guild, in the choir, a Lay Eucharistic Minister, and more.  Yet I knew almost nothing about the Bible, the Church, or God’s call to me.  My understanding of God had not grown much since my childhood.  I had heard that EfM could give me the tools to dig deeper, but I kept putting it off because I was too busy. Then I attended a Vestry meeting where my eyes were opened. 

Vestry was deliberating a proposal to lease a small office to a new Gay Rights organization.  On one hand, the group probably meant well, even if their cause was controversial.  On the other hand, if their advocacy created bad publicity, our church might be drawn into it, just because we rented to them. The vote began with the Sr. Warden’s no. The next man voted no, and the next.  Then Peggy, an EfM graduate, voted no.  But she stopped, reconsidered, and said, “Change my vote to yes.  I believe God is calling us to do this.” The rest of the Vestry followed her lead, and the measure passed. 

After the meeting, I asked her, “How did you do that – change your mind in the middle of the vote?” She answered, “EfM.  I did a quick theological reflection. I thought of my new gay friend, a really caring person, who shared with me how unfairly he has been treated by society.  And I remembered that the Bible says that God created us all in His image. Then I knew what I had to do.” 

Better aligning my actions with what God is calling me to be and do. That’s what I wanted.  I signed up for EfM right away. 

If you are searching for what God wants you to be and do, too, I encourage you to consider EfM.

Mary Novello, EfM graduate and mentor, St. Luke’s, Mechanicsburg


What is EfM?

EfM is a unique small-group, distance-learning certificate program from the University of the South’s School of Theology. Each program year consists of 36 meetings where group members encounter the breadth and depth of the Christian tradition and bring it into conversation with their experiences of the world as they study, worship, and engage in theological reflection together.  Since its founding in 1975, this international program has assisted more than 80,000 participants in discovering and nurturing their call to Christian service.

The focus for each year is:

  • Year 1, The Hebrew Bible
  • Year 2, The New Testament
  • Year 3, Church History
  • Year 4, Theology, Ethics, and Interfaith Encounter

Participants completing all four years receive a certificate in theological education.