Frequently Asked Questions
We are so happy you’re interested in getting involved with our work here at FRONTIER . Below we have answers to a number of frequently asked questions. If you have more, please don't hesitate to contact us.
CAN I DO FRONTIER AS A NON-RESIDENTIAL PARTICIPANT?
Yes! FRONTIER is designed with the option of either a residential or non-residential pathway.
The structure and delivery of FRONTIER as a missional leadership traineeship means you can complete the Diploma of Ministry or Graduate Diploma of Divinity in partnership with your local church leadership and community.
You should discuss this with your local church leadership.
CAN I DO FRONTIER PART-TIME, AS SINGLE UNITS, AS A DISTANCE OR ON-LINE PARTICIPANT?
FRONTIER is delivered through intensives and workshops, so it is possible to simply enroll for a single unit, or do the study component part-time. Contact us and discuss you interest so we can serve you in this way.
As FRONTIER is intentionally designed develop missional leaders, we believe spending the time connected with others in ahands on, daily encounter, is essential to forming good habits and discipleship patterns. Such a process of formation is integral to successful and effective church planting and/or missional practice, and developing relationships that will encourage and empower you once you transition from FRONTIER into actually planting a church or renewing a faith community through missional practice.
DO I NEED A WORKING WITH CHILDREN’S CARD?
Yes! Before you can begin FRONTIER you will need a valid Working with Children/Vulnerable People Card from your current State of residence. Without it you will not be able to engage in any missional placement or activity. If you do not have either a NSW or VIC card, we will assist you in gaining one during your orientation.
WILL THE DIPLOMA OF MINISTRY OR GRADUATE DIPLOMA OF DIVINITY PREPARE ME FOR LAY MINISTRY WITHIN THE LUTHERAN CHURCH OF AUSTRALIA OR WITHIN MY OWN DENOMINATIONAL TRADITION?
Possibly! We will assist you in seeking registration as a lay worker in the Lutheran Church of Australia. We will also assist in transitioning you into a recognised ministry within your own tradition. The purpose of FRONTIER is to create missional leaders for the local church. While you will do some generic ministry within the congregation, school, or aged care context, this will be intentionally shaped and supervised as missional practice, not traditional pastoral or parish lay work/ministry.
I ALREADY HOLD A DEGREE IN MINISTRY, DO I NEED TO DO IT AGAIN?
NO! If you have recently completed a degree in ministry, which focusses on missional practice and/or church planting, you do not have to do it again. If you have completed a similar academic qualification from another learning institution, please chat with us and we can discuss tailoring FRONTIER so you only need do those units within the Diploma of Ministry or Graduate Diploma of Divinity that enables you to grow as a missional leader The Diploma of Ministry or Graduate Diploma of Divinity is designed to give a theological base line from which to shape you into a competent and capable missional leader. The learning you do around that through missional praxis is the exciting aspect of this program.
HOW WILL FRONTIER AFFECT OUR CHURCH?
FRONTIER is hands-on, practical missiology. It involves study, application, and reflection all within the context of a missional environment. Mission is never conducted in isolation to the local church, and missional leaders need the supportive base of the local church in order for them to do their most effective work. Having people intentionally engaged in a learning-reflective practice, and sharing that with the local church is empowering and invigorating for congregational members. We will actively include and engage the participant’s home church and assist in mutual support processes for the duration of FRONTIER .
FRONTIER is not just about doing mission, it is about foundational faith and spiritual formation required for missional practitioners to be effective in whatever missional enterprise they engage. That means they need to adopt a pattern of discipleship, faith formation, and spirituality that becomes a life-long habit. Not only will the local church provide missional experience and practice, but their journey will also enable them to help shape practices of discipleship and faith formation. That is an exciting mix, which we know God will bless. By sending them back to their home churches, we are giving an amazing gift of grace and hope to the local church.
We are also aware that many congregations or faith communities have not transitioned into a place of missional vision, practice or identity. Part of your time with FRONTIER will be spent learning how to help a local church transition into a missional mindset. We will give you practical and practiced methods of helping communities realign their vision of who God has called them to be. Some of that will actually take place within your home church as part of your time within FRONTIER .
WHY NOT ENCOURAGE PARTICIPANTS TO DO A VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING COURSE SUCH AS THE CERTIFICATE IV IN MINISTRY AND THEOLOGY?
Our focus is on developing missional leaders who can operate and develop within a specific and intentional missiological framework. Our hope is to provide skilled, life-long learners to the church for missional leadership practice, who may go on to become leaders or even Pastors of missional churches. VET based training does not provide such opportunities. It is also does not attract FEE-Help to cover the course costs.
It may be, in response to their FRONTIER year, participants wish to pursue further study, and we would like to position participants so this option can be realised. Vocational Education and Training courses do not provide an adequate pathway into undergraduate study, and therefore limit opportunities for growth and development as missional leaders. The Diploma of Ministry stream provides the first year of a Bachelor in Ministry if participants wish to pursue that option, while the Graduate Diploma of Divinity opens options for higher level study such as a Master’s degree focussing on missiology.
HOW WILL THIS COURSE BENEFIT PARTICIPANTS IN THE FUTURE?
The program is intentionally designed to balance theology, practice and reflection in a fundamentally pragmatic way, shaping missional activity and understanding. The Diploma of Ministry or Graduate Diploma of Divinity will give participants a good theological understanding, but the way we develop this in a missional context of experience and practice will give them a unique and fundamentally life changing approach to missional practice. Living in community, sharing experience, reflecting and applying lessons learned, all contribute to growing and maturing the individual into a missional practitioner capable of venturing into the non-church world. While this will have great benefit to the individual, our focus is how the individual, with the growth and learning they have gained, can benefit and bless the wider church.
WHEN DO APPLICATIONS CLOSE?
Applications for FRONTIER work on a semester basis:
Semester 1 close on the 1st Sunday in February.
Semester 2 close on the last Sunday in June.
WHAT OTHER MINISTRY DOES THIS HELP ME WORK TOWARDS IF I WANT TO?
That’s up to the participant – there is no real limit! When you have finished FRONTIER you will have gained experience and knowledge as you explored ideas in theology and missional ministry. You will have developed skills in time management, team work, reflective practice, communication and community leadership. You will have experienced school, aged care and congregational environments. While these skills will be shaped in a missional context, they can also serve well in a variety of vocations that require good community service skills.
Completing the Diploma of Ministry provides the participant the opportunity to go on to further study and complete a Bachelor of Ministry and /or Theology, as the units covered constitute the first year of a Bachelor’s degree. The Graduate Diploma of Divinity also opens the door to further study and theological formation.
A participant desiring to become a Pastor within the Lutheran Church of Australia should note that the Lutheran Church of Australia requires a specific path prior to ordination. We will work with you, and assist in positioning you to help realise this call to the Pastoral Office, if that is where you wish to progress. Australian Lutheran College recognise the units offered in FRONTIER so transition into the Pastoral Ministry program provides elements of recognised prior learning, reducing the length of time at Australian Lutheran College.
For those seeking a formal ministry role within their own theological tradition, FRONTIER may offer the first steps toward this, but we will need to work with you and your denominational governing body to position you into their ministry formation stream.
IS ONE ‘DAY OFF’ PER WEEK ENOUGH?
One ‘official’ day off per week should be fine for most participants. There will be a variety of activities that provide a range of opportunities which will occur during the week, many of these will help to balance the rest-work life balance FRONTIER will develop in you. You’ll also be given time off between terms to rest and recuperate. If this proves insufficient then participants may need to negotiate a second day off per week. FRONTIER is intentional about developing life habits that will sustain you for the long journey of missional leadership and practice. We know how important it is to get the balance right, and what an empowering freedom such a balance offers when embedded in a personal lifestyle of discipleship, faith formation and ministry.
DO I HAVE TO GET A PART-TIME JOB?
NO. As a FRONTIER participant, enrolled at Melbourne School of Theology undertaking full-time study, you will be eligible for Commonwealth Government Fee-HELP (if you’re an Australian Citizen), and may be eligible for Youth Allowance/AUStudy (note: this is means tested). If you receive both these benefits, there is probably no need for you to work. In some cases, working may impact upon your entitlement to Youth Allowance/AUStudy.
However, we are intentional about creating space where you can connect with people outside the church, and work is one of those opportunities. We strongly encourage every FRONTIER participant to engage in some social or community activity, such as sport, hobby groups, part-time work, or other social activity as part of the FRONTIER experience. Even if you don’t need the money, working is a great experience that helps connect and build relationships with non-church people.
FRONTIER participants have found work within local cafes, after school care programs, and even as boarding house supervisors. There are many opportunities within the local area for part-time work.
WILL I BE PAID FOR MY DAYS OF MISSIONAL MINISTRY?
No. FRONTIER is a voluntary missional experience, designed to allow you to learn, take risks, fail, and grow as a missional leader without the burden of meeting an employer’s expectation or outcome. Your home church may decide to make a contribution towards your tuition and training, but any arrangement of this type is at your home church’s discretion.
ARE THE REFERENCES ESSENTIAL TO APPLY?
Yes. This is an important way for us to make sure that you’re ready for FRONTIER and that you’ll have the necessary support from outside the FRONTIER environment to encourage your growth and formation throughout the year. They will also be essential for us to enrol you in the Diploma of Ministry or Graduate Diploma of Divinity through the Melbourne School of Theology.
We seek three references, one from your Pastor, one from your employer or learning institution, and one from a friend. We strongly advise that you sit with each and discuss your future with them before asking them to write a reference for you. That way they will be able to write a reference that specifically speaks into your application to participate in the FRONTIER program.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE INTERVIEW?
Interviews can be daunting, but our intent is to ensure that we get to know you a little, and discover what inspired you to apply for the FRONTIER experience. It’s also a chance for you to get to know us, and ask any questions in an open and friendly forum, as we work together to ensure that FRONTIER is the right fit for you.
WHEN CAN I APPLY?
Now! Applications for FRONTIER are now open.
IS FRONTIER ONLY FOR LUTHERANS?
No! FRONTIER is a missional formation year for anyone interested in developing the foundational skills for missional leadership and practice. While the training is embedded in a Lutheran congregation, it is delivered in partnership with the Melbourne School of Theology, an inter-denominational theological college. The entire program is developed and delivered in partnership with a collective of Lutheran and other denominational Pastors and laity. Much of the material we use comes from other denominational and non-denominational traditions, which we intentionally use as part of our formation and shaping of participants, while remaining respectful of their unique theological tradition. Any participant, regardless of denomination, is welcome to become part of the program. As a FRONTIER participant you’ll have a shared learning experiences, work as a team, and grow in your faith capacity to be an effective missional practitioner regardless of denomination.