Training Courses

  • When the Bible is taught, the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to save the lost and build up the church. That is why training and equipping people to ‘rightly handle the word of truth’ is essential to the health and growth of today’s church.

  • "The course has been a massively beneficial experience. The teaching is challenging and forces you to really engage with God's Word. It's been very useful to prepare me for service within a church setting and also for my own personal Christian walk."

    Dan, Ministry Trainee

  • "Having recently retired from full time work, it is a joy to be able to be a student again to study the Bible with so many others. We come from a variety of churches and age groups but our shared desire is to become better equipped as Christians. The course content is well balanced and its lecturers are of high calibre."

    Richard, retired

On our training courses, Christians from across Sussex and beyond come together for Biblical instruction and training, and warm fellowship. Through lectures, group work, class discussions and teaching workshops, students on the course gain the following:

  • A firm understanding of the Bible & its teaching
  • Confidence and ability to share the Bible with others
  • A practical understanding of biblical ministry

The result is that they are equipped to be more effective in living for Christ and serving him in the church and the world.

The Courses

Go to Term Dates

The Sussex Ministry Training Course (SMTC) is run over three 11-week terms on a Tuesday. The course day runs from 10:30am to 4:15pm at Christ Church in Haywards Heath. Students who complete the first year have an option of continuing for a second year that builds on the foundation laid in year one. The Saturday Morning Bible Training Course (SMBTC) is a cut-down version of year one of the Tuesday course aimed at those who are not free to undertake a week-day course. Students are required to attend once each month (excluding August) from 9:30am to 1:00pm and it takes two years to complete the course. To widen accessibility, this course is run in various locations across Sussex.  The course in Lindfield (Mid Sussex) finished in summer 2018.  The course in Eastbourne (East Sussex) finishes summer 2019, and we have a new course starting in Chichester (West Sussex) running from 2018 to 2020.  Students who complete the Saturday Course have the option of taking year two of the Tuesday course. The lectures on all our courses are recorded so that students who miss a session are able to catch up on-line. We have a dedicated Facebook page for our training courses which you can access here.

Course Content

Click to expand

Bible Overview

Travelling from Genesis to Revelation, we get a bird’s-eye view of the Bible. Students find it very exciting and informative to learn how it all fits together from Creation to New Creation. This provides a vital foundation for a full understanding of each of the individual parts of the Bible.

Principles of Exposition

This is a very practical part of the course in which we learn how to understand and teach different parts of the Bible (such as The Gospels, Old Testament historical books, New Testament Letters) and then practise what we have learned in the Teaching Workshops.

Teaching Workshops

These are an important part of the course as they provide an opportunity for students to try out the skills they have been learning in a safe and supportive small group context. The workshop groups offer a very helpful learning experience for everyone from the complete novice to the seasoned Bible teacher.

Bible Books

We study at least three books in depth as well as taking a briefer look at some other books. This not only grows our understanding of the books we study, but helps to illustrate the Principles of Exposition. In recent years we have covered Matthew, Exodus, Colossians and 1 Thessalonians. There is an opportunity to study further Bible books on year 2 of the SMTC, including an in-depth study of Romans.

Christian Doctrine

This is where we examine what the Bible teaches about a number of basic themes. We look at a range of topics including the nature of God, the person of Christ, his death and resurrection, the nature of the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. Further Christian doctrine is covered on year 2 of the SMTC.

Additional Topics

Both courses aim to equip students to be confident in handling the word of God, whether in the context of giving a talk, leading a Bible study or reading the Bible with a friend one-to-one. In addition, the SMTC provides further practical training for a wide range of ministry contexts, covering topics such as explaining the gospel, handling questions people ask, working in a team, men’s ministry, women’s ministry, youth work and church planting. Students who go on to year 2 of the SMTC also have the opportunity to cover topics related to leadership, Christian ethics and apologetics.

Course Leaders

The courses are led by Nick McQuaker and Jon Hobbs.


Nick is Director of Training and Development for the Sussex Gospel Partnership. Previously he was a Pastor at Christ Church, Haywards Heath (formerly the Evangelical Free Church) where he had ministered since 1996. For many years, he has been involved in training others to teach the Bible both in the UK and overseas.


Jon is the SGP's Associate Trainer, teaching on the training courses and speaking at training events. Alongside his role with the SGP, he now leads Grace Church in Haywards Heath following eight years in parish church ministry, first in Lindfield, and then in Maresfield and Nutley. Prior to taking up local church ministry, Jon had spent five years as a Regional Staffworker with the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF) before training at Oak Hill Theological College in London.

Many other experienced church leaders from the Sussex Gospel Partnership also speak regularly on the course. These include Phil Coekin, Robert Lovatt, Julian Milson, Graham Nicholls, Mark Redhouse, Mark Ventham, Philip Wells and Michael Wilcock. Guest lecturers have also included Wallace Benn, David Jackman and John Stevens.

Taking Things Further

No particular academic qualifications are required to undertake the SMTC or the SMBTC. Course participants must, however, share our conviction that the Bible is the true and living Word of God, and have a commitment to Bible-centred ministry. Applicants will be expected to have the support of their church leader (who will be asked to supply a reference on their behalf) for their participation in the course. Course applicants may be interviewed before being offered a place. If you have any questions, please phone Nick McQuaker, the Course Director (01444 459809) or Wendy Sands, the Course Administrator (01444 458 635).

Request An Application Form

Tuesday Course Details and Brochure Download

From September 2018, the fees for the 1-2 year Sussex Ministry Training Course (SMTC) are £570 for each year, payable in 3 termly installments of £190. This covers all course material. (Participation in optional course outings may incur a small additional charge.)

The SMTC takes place at Christ Church, Haywards Heath on Tuesdays between 10:30am and 4:15pm. The course runs for 33 weeks in the year over three terms, each of which includes a half-term break corresponding with the school half term. The next intake will be in September 2018, although in exceptional circumstances students can join part way through the year. Term dates are shown at the bottom of this page.

Tuesday Course Brochure

Saturday Course Details and Brochure Download

From 2018-2020, the fees for the 2-year Saturday Morning Bible Training Course are £190 for each year, payable in three instalments (total cost £380.00 over 2 years). This covers all course material.

The next course (starting on 22 September 2018), will take place monthly on Saturday mornings between 9:30am and 1:00pm at St Pancras Church, Chichester

Saturday Course Brochure

Term Dates

Sussex Ministry Training Course – 2018/2019

Autumn Term 2018 18 Sept to 4 Dec, excluding 23 Oct (half term break)
Spring Term 2019 8 Jan to 26 March, excluding 19 Feb (half term break)
Summer Term 2019 23 Apr to 9 July, excluding 28 May (half term break)

Saturday Morning Bible Training Course – Eastbourne – 2017/2018/2019

2017 30 Sep, 21 Oct, 25 Nov, 16 Dec
2018 20 Jan, 17 Feb, 17 Mar, 21 Apr, 12 May, 9 June, 7 July, 8 Sep, 6 Oct, 3 Nov, 8 Dec
2019 5 Jan, 2 Feb, 9 Mar, 6 Apr, 11 May, 8 June, 6 July

Saturday Morning Bible Training Course – Chichester – 2018/2019/2020

2018 22 Sep, 20 Oct, 24 Nov, 15 Dec
2019 12 Jan, 9 Feb, 16 Mar, 27 Apr, 18 May, 15 June, 20 July
2019/2020 dates to be arranged

Partner Organisations

We work with partners to help strengthen and expand gospel ministry.