More about TLS One-year courses

What courses are available?

Gateways into Worship
Developing deeper understandings and opening up fresh experiences of worship to enrich personal participation and/or equipping for leading.

Developing Community Experiences
Developing understanding of community development principles and practices in order to stimulate informed and practical engagement in such work from a faith base. For more information download the TLS DCE 1 year course flyer (PDF) and contact Samara Andrews - CRCW Programme Administrator at: or telephone 0207 916 8653

Gateways into Pastoral Care
Theoretical and practical learning are combined to provide opportunities to increase understanding of yourself, others and the gospel and to turn new insights into active love and care.

Gateways into Prayer
Exploring a wide range of past and present expressions of spirituality to enable you to apply the insights to your own experience and to equip you to help others to do likewise.

Experiencing Faith
Exploring selected religions with the aim of developing deeper understanding and building relationships among people of faith

Gateways into Evangelism
Exploring biblical and theological insights into evangelism in the context of practical experience and contemporary culture with the aim of equipping people for an evangelistic life-style and ministry.


What’s involved?

A TLS One-year course will typically include six integrated elements:

1. Local Service
Engagement in the life of the community and/or the Church are key sources of learning in TLS. Each course member engages in practical work relating to the course subject. It is important as the context in which theory is applied.

2. Home Study
Working through Home Study Units, fortnightly in term-time. This study - and associated reading - prepares exercises for the local study group discussion.

3. Local Study
A tutor and up to six students meet after each Study Unit , usually fortnightly in term, to share Bible study, to follow up the work at home study and reflect on practical work. Ideally, nobody travels over an hour each way. Times and places are fixed by the group.

4. Assessed written work
Written work is required on all courses. Whether it receives informal feedback or it is formally assessed depends on the Pathway and purpose followed.

5. Local Support
Each student nominates a local support group network. This group links the student with Christian life. It offers personal and practical support, discusses learning goals and service opportunities, and helps with evaluation.

6. Weekends Away
Course members attend residential weekends three times a year plus one additional study day. They share worship, study, teaching and fellowship, and compare findings from the local study groups.

Why study a course?

There are a number of reasons for engaging in a TLS One-year course

  • Personal interest, to develop your understanding and effectiveness in your Christian discipleship.
  • To be better equipped and therefore more effective in a specific area of Christian ministry.
  • To gain United Reformed Church Assembly-accreditation as Lay Preacher..
  • To explore callings to various forms of recognised ministry within the United Reformed Church.

NB: For some of these objectives you will need to have completed prior study either on TLS LITE or an equivalent programme of theological education.

What’s this about Pathways?

As already implied, TLS courses may be studied at different levels and for different purposes, which, for ease of understanding, we summarise in two Pathways.

PATHWAY 1 – Enriching Faith

  • This Pathway is primarily about helping people to deepen their personal spirituality and discipleship
  • Most courses may be enrolled on without prior completion of any other TLS course or any other formal qualification.
  • For enrolment on Gateways into Worship however, you need to be able to demonstrate previous experience in conducting Christian worship in formal settings, evidenced by written confirmation from your local minister or other significant church officer.
  • Formally assessed assignments are not required although some written work needs to be submitted and feedback is given on it.
  • Those who successfully complete this Pathway receive a TLS Enriching Faith Certificate but more importantly they will reap the benefits of invigorated personal spirituality and discipleship.

PATHWAY 2 – Equipping For Service
This Pathway focuses upon vocational skills and ministries.

  • It requires either
    • prior completion of the TLS Foundation Course on Pathway 2 (now no longer available)
    • or completion of the core modules on TLS LITE
    • or completion of prior theological study equivalent to the TLS Foundation course, with equivalence determined on a case by case basis by the TLS Board of Studies on application.
  • Those who successfully complete this Pathway receive a TLS Equipping for Service Certificate but more importantly they will be equipped to serve in specific Christian ministries.
  • It is the primary route for those seeking Assembly Accreditation as a Lay Preacher in the United Reformed Church.

To embark upon any TLS One-year course the Course Member must by the 30 September of the first academic year:

  • Be over 18 years old.
  • Have engaged in a conversation with a TLS Regional Organiser or Course Manager who will informally assess their suitability to engage in TLS study.
  • Where English is not a Course Member’s first language, ability to address the written work component of the modules must be demonstrated
    • Either by producing evidence of previous Higher Education learning in which written assignments were a significant component.
    • Or by completing and gaining a pass for a 1000 word reflection on a question pertinent to the course to be determined by the TLS Board of Studies.

Prospective students will be asked during their enrolment process to identify the Pathway upon which they wish to proceed. Firm decisions about Pathways will need to be made by 14 September of the relevant academic year. It is possible to move from Pathway 2 to Pathway 1, However any student seeking to move from Pathway 1 to Pathway 2 will need to recommence the course in a subsequent academic year.

Please note that TLS reserves the right to alter the content and/or requirements of any course without prior notice to its participants. This will only happen in circumstances of absolute necessity as TLS prefers to operate consultatively on such matters but it does mean that should circumstances demand it, variations from the information provided here may arise.

What does it cost?

The United Reformed Church operates a policy of encouraging lay development, at the same time as ensuring sustainable provision of learning opportunities. So in the case of TLS one-year courses the staffing costs are provided from Assembly funds whilst student fees go towards the costs of residential weekends and study days. The individual fee for each one-year course in 2016/17 is £650. There is considerable help towards covering the cost:

  1. URC members are given £100 off the fee on the commendation of their church
  2. Synods have set aside funds to put towards the fees, which Regional Organisers can explain more about.
  3. TLS has a central bursary fund which is available for student in cases of need

TLS is therefore a partnership between the student, their local church, their Synod, and the Assembly Education and Learning Committee.

You can find out more about this in the TLS Prospectus.

How do I get started?

Enrolment for beginning TLS One-year Courses in the following September starts on 1 January and ends on 31 May. An application form should be sent to the TLS Coordinator between those dates.

Following receipt of the application, you will be contacted by one of the TLS staff within four weeks. If you are not please let the TLS Coordinator (details below) know.

If you have any queries about the running of these courses please first contact:

The Revd Stanley Jackson
TLS LITE Course Manager
43 Clifford Moor Road
Boston Spa
West Yorks
LS23 6NU

Tel: 01937 520938

If for any reason you are unable to reach the TLS Coordinator please contact:

The Revd Dr John Burgess
TLS Deputy Coordinator and GiW Course Manager
Brokers End
Stockton Hill

Tel: 07481 893 322