We believe that every Christian has a desire to delve deeper into their faith, to learn more about the Bible, to be able to respond to the challenging issues we face today, to learn and grow together as God’s people. But often we lack the forum to enable this to happen.
We’re here to be a GATEWAY to a deeper engagement with Bible, Theology and Contemporary Issues.
… because theology is for everyone!
Theology should not be a scary word. It’s not just for academics and scholars. Theology is about our relationship with God and God’s relationship with the world. We might even say, ‘theology is how we think about ourselves, the world, and everything – in relation to God.’
Our aim at GTS is to create a safe space, in your own local church or community, where everyone together can ‘do theology’ – thinking, discussing, and engaging more deeply with the issues of today.
What is Gateway?
Gateway is a ministry to individuals, churches and church leaders, providing a forum for theological engagement through running courses and events – right where you are.
The theology school that comes to you!
Ministry to churches
Many Christians attend church for years without ever having the opportunity to ask questions, discuss issues raised in a sermon, or bring their own insights and experiences to the table. The typical Sunday service isn’t designed for that, but many churches have no other forum for such interaction to take place. Gateway exists to provide that!
Some churches provide homegroups – ideal for prayer, fellowship, and practical discipleship together. But it’s rare for a homegroup to have the time or resources to delve deeply into biblical and theological issues, or grapple with tough questions about Christian faith and life. Gateway offers that opportunity. The insights and ideas from a GTS course can also provide homegroups with new depth and direction, and open up new vistas for discussion.
Ministry to church leaders
Church leaders often have an overwhelming array of responsibilities. Every leader is gifted in different ways, pastorally, in preaching, worship, running the church, or in putting together uplifting gatherings and services. If you are a leader who is gifted at theological teaching, has time to develop curriculum, organise courses, and run them, then you don’t need GTS. But if not, GTS can be the answer!
We want to help church leaders build stronger, more confident congregations, to deepen faith and understanding. GTS works closely with church leaders to design and teach courses that specifically meet the needs of your congregation. Church leaders are always invited to be involved in preparing and running a GTS course – or you might see it as a golden opportunity to have a break, let others do the leading, while enabling your members to learn and engage with one another in an exciting new way.
‘GTS was great for our church. It meant we could cover often difficult topics with a neutral and clear voice, in a specifically tailored course which allowed us time to discuss and learn together. As a church leader there is so much you wish you could teach on. Or even better – teach people how to teach themselves! GTS did both.’
Pastor David Hannah, former community pastor of Glebe Chapel, Newent (Brethren)
A Theology School with a difference
Gateway is also theology school – but not in the traditional sense. Our aim is to bring theology out of its academic preserve and back into the hands of all God’s people – where it belongs! We don’t offer accredited degrees, although participants have the option of doing coursework that builds up to a Certificate in Theology.
Our focus is not on gaining academic qualifications – but discussions are just as deep and profound as in any university course. Rather, we want to enable the joy of learning without the burden of academic research, essays, exams, or heavy reading. People are intelligent and have so much to offer, and when the academic burden is removed, theology really is for everyone!
How Does it Work?
Gateway offers courses and events in two different delivery modes, on-site and online. We also provide special events such as a ‘taster day’ to get an idea of different course options, a Passover-Seder meal, or teaching at a church Away Day.
Gateway On Site
Gateway On Site offers biblical and theological teaching in your own church or community venue anywhere in Gloucestershire. Designed to be open and accessible to anyone, GTS courses are delivered in a friendly and engaging way, in your own familiar environment.
Courses are tailored to the needs and interests of your group and can be customised by time, length and content. Our aim with on-site teaching is to:
- Strengthen congregations, promote discipleship and spiritual growth
- Enable confident discussion and thoughtful Christian response to contemporary challenges
- Equip congregations to better understand, discuss and articulate their faith
Courses are adaptable to the needs of the group. The most common format is a series of weekly sessions, but courses can also be adapted for:
- Day events or a weekend way
- Teaching at a conference you are hosting
- Seasonal teaching over Advent, Lent or Pentecost
We now offer a variety of courses online. Some rely on Zoom, others use a combined format blending individual online interaction with group sessions to follow (either on Zoom or on site). Online is ideal for bringing people together who are not already in the same location. This new blended mode (interactive) is available for only a few specific courses, where participants can learn new material at their own pace before coming together to discuss and apply it in a group format. More can be covered in a shorter length, but participants need to be committed to engaging with the online material prior to the sessions.
Gateway Online (live) brings people together exclusively in zoom sessions which combine teaching, breakout discussion – and a bit of homework in-between. This works particularly well for specialist courses and for bringing people together from disparate locations over a topic of common interest.
Gateway Online (interactive) enables individual interaction with online course material through Google Classrooms. Participants work on questions, short activities, quizzes, and written interaction at their own pace, in preparation for a group session (either on-site or online). Sessions then go deeper and focus more on discussion with less time needed for taught content.
Online teaching is ideal for:
- People who want to learn in the comfort of their own home
- Individuals outside Gloucestershire or not in proximity to a hosting church
- People wanting to join with others over a topic of common interest
I am delighted to see the developments at GTS, and especially the positive move to online delivery. We share a common desire to strengthen the work of theological education and engagement across the life of the diocese, and to see these areas being resourced and encouraged. It’s been good to be able to signpost people to GTS from the Department as part of our partnership in this area.
Rev Canon Andrew Braddock, Mission & Ministry Dept, Diocese of Gloucester