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Listening in Mission

The course equipped all of us for leading worship with a rich variety of sessions from fol

Online Practical Theology Short Courses
Trinity College Glasgow & Theology & Religious Studies, University of Glasgow

Course Description

This course will explore the practice and theology of listening in mission within local communities and how this may renew imagination and impact of the church in a rapidly changing society. Course attendees will explore common mission approaches and be introduced to practices of local community research, theological reflection, and spiritual discernment, in order to develop practical skills in mission attentiveness. Processes that enable group reflection, observation, listening to stories and interpretation will be introduced so these skills can be deployed in church or mission teams. This course is applicable to those who lead in local church situations and those interested in innovating and pioneering in church mission.

This is an open access course available as a 10-credit course (accredited by the University of Glasgow) or audit-only for those who just wish to engage with the learning programme for their own personal benefit.

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Rev Dr Mark Johnston is a Lecturer at the Dept of Theology and Religious Studies. He has leadership experience working in education, churches, mission projects and not-for-profit sector. He has served the Church of Scotland in mission innovation and for the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand as a Minister and a theological educator in missional leadership. He has developed and taught “Listening in Mission” approaches for a number of years with those training for ministry, church planters and experienced church leaders. He is a lover of the outdoors, curious about local history and cultures and enjoys a good conversation over a beer.

Timetable & Duration

30th January to 27th March, 2025

This course will take place online on Thursday evenings, 7.00pm-9.00pm. This course will be taught over 9 weeks (including a one-week break) via online real-time meetings & instruction and after class activities.


Introduction to the course

The way we think about and practice mission in our local communities has changed. As churches, we are in a space both familiar and new. We understand our limitations in both mission and ministry and the new possibilities in relationship with places and neighbours. So how do churches and mission teams take up our present challenge? 'Listening in mission' takes the view that the Spirit of God invites us to pay attention and to learn where God is ahead of us and where invitations are open to demonstrate and share Good News. For churches or for new mission or planting teams starting out, 'listening in mission' offers practical pathways for becoming more attuned to local mission opportunity, and for discerning responses that are Christ shaped in their local context.


The course is designed to introduce activities, spiritual practices and practical steps that can be deployed in a local church or a new mission team setting. Hands-on practical work, introduction to key frameworks and resources, online supportive conversations and feedback, will involve participants in an 8 week journey of discovery.

This course aims to:

  • Help participants explore a local practice of church mission that attends to the mission of God in their social context. 

  • Develop skills in local community research, theological reflection, and identifying local mission opportunities, that can be deployed in churches.  

  • Stimulate participants and their churches to renew their imagination and impact for local mission through improved awareness and understanding of the local community and its social changes  

  • Reflect on current church approaches to mission

Topics include:

  • God's mission in Christ's way; 

  • Being attentive to places;

  • What are we not seeing or hearing?

  • Community mapping skills and approaches for local discovery;

  • Diagnosing local observations, features and stories;

  • Discerning God possibilities

  • Discerning Christ shaped opportunities;

  • Cultivating church spaces for conversation and shared practices of mission attentiveness.

Course information

This course is conducted online in weekly real-time conversations along with materials and interaction using the learning platform, Moodle. Zoom as an online meeting tool will be used for the real-time conversations and online group times. Access to these tools will be supported by the course administration. More information about the use of these will be provided once enrolled.

Each learning module will be taught through a range of online group discussion, exercises, and activities, viewing and reading. Participants will be introduced to a range of hands on practical work for practicing in their own local context, and invited to feedback to the class.

If you take the course for credit, the formal assessment for this course consists of the following:


Portfolio. (1000 words - 50%)  Three journal entries (300 words approx each.) 

Report. (1000 words – 50%) including diagram content.



*Priority Area subsidy available for this course. Email for more information.

Sponsorship or subsidies may be available through your own church or denomination and we encourage you to approach them with the details of the course.

How to Apply


Notify your interest now via email:

Applications closing Friday the 13th of December 2024. 

If you are applying to access a short course online from the UK or internationally, please ensure you have communicated with outlining briefly your interest in the course and any experience relevant to the course you are applying for, including any former higher or further education. This will help us to ensure you are able to achieve your goals and enjoy the short course experience.  


These courses are delivered through the University of Glasgow. We will contact you with more information and guidance regarding applying, completing your details and payment in time for the course start date. If you have any questions regarding the process, you can contact us on the above email address. 

If you have any difficulties with this process – please contact Heather (office administrator) at:

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