Jesus seems to have trained his followers through a blend of sending them out to practice ministry and withdrawing for prayer, teaching, discussion and reflection. St Paul seems to have done something similar. The Church-Based Ordination Training at St Mellitus College, offers a unique opportunity to relate theory to practice in a way that tries to follow this pattern. On this mission-focussed course, students do half of their learning ‘on the job’ in a local church, and the other half in the classroom.

Church placements

All students on this course are based in a Primary Placement, usually in local churches or mission contexts. Some may already be on the staff of churches, and subject to approval from their diocese and St Mellitus, can continue that involvement during their training although in a half time role. For others, in agreement with their sending diocese, we can help them find a suitable placement for the practical part of their programme. Please visit our Incumbents and Supervisors page for further information about placements churches for ordinands.

Academic study

Alongside their ministry in the local context, students engage in academic study and reflection through:

- One full day’s teaching every week at St Mellitus College's teaching centre in either London, the North West or the South West
- One day each week for personal study
- Seven residential weekends through the year (including a retreat weekend)
- One annual full residential week

Our aim is to provide academic training that is just as stretching as can be found anywhere, alongside practical experience of growing churches or fresh expressions of church under experienced leadership. A vital part of the course is regular ‘formation groups' where students share issues they are facing in their practical ministry, and learn to analyse and address them with the help of the theology they are learning.


Those new to theological study work towards a Diploma or BA in Theology, Ministry and Mission validated by Durham University. Theology Graduates can study for an MA in Theology, Ministry and Mission validated by Durham University, or an MA in Christian Leadership validated by Middlesex University, alongside ordination training at St Mellitus College.

Have a look at the curriculum covered.

Leadership Training

We also offer a particular focus on training leaders for the church. The Healthy Church Leadership programme (primarily delivered on afternoons in the midweek teaching day) engages with a wide range of topics and issues relevant to church leadership, mission and ministry today. As well as our staff team this involves a number of practitioners and leaders from other fields to help develop our ordinands’ capacity for leadership in the future. Depending on their programme of study, most students also engage with a week-long leadership training course at one of the residential weeks.

Formation and Pastoral Support

St Mellitus College has a particular focus on the formation of Christian Character and Christ-likeness at the heart of its training model. It is vitally important that students learn how to lead well in relationship with others, requiring enhanced self-awareness, an understanding of the impact their leadership has on those around them, and effective feedback arising from a number of sources. To support this, every student has a Formation Tutor, and a Supervisor is appointed within the Primary Placement, to oversee the practical ministry part of the training.


Programme fees and a living expense allowance are covered by National Church funding assessed and administered at a diocesan level, taking into account household income and expenditure.


Ordinands on the full-time pathway would usually be recommended for incumbent status. This route is also available for those sponsored for Ordained Pioneer Ministry.

Applying and Open days

If you are interested in applying for the context-based route, you can attend one of our regular Open Days. Click here for a list of our upcoming open days. To attend please email [email protected]. You can apply for the programme through our online application form here.


You can study this programme at St Mellitus College, LondonSt Mellitus College, North West and St Mellitus College, South West.