Sabbatical Studies in Theology and Mission

Offered through the Centre for Mission, this course is a fantastic opportunity for short-term research in your chosen area of interest or, if you prefer, hands-on specialist training in mission and ministry.

This course forms part of the ETS Centre for Mission, which has been established with the aim of providing Christians in the church with the education, support and facilities they need to serve God, whether at home or abroad.

This course at the ETS Centre for Mission makes provision for sabbaticals, shorter or longer periods of time in which you can take time out and do some serious thinking and research. These short research periods can extend from a week to three months or more, with or without supervision. 

The pressures of life and ministry rarely give us time to think through subjects that we might have an ongoing interest in or issues that we face in the 21st century.

Such sabbaticals can be of particular help for pastors or others who are exploring or rethinking through ethical, biblical, theological, historical, ecclesiastical or missiological issues which will impact their congregational life and mission.

There are no formal entry requirements for this course.

Great facilities in a supportive learning community

Students at ETS and the Centre for Mission enjoy access to a range of technology, study spaces and library facilities.

Using these resources, the ETS Centre for Mission is being developed with the aim of providing students and Christians in the church with the training, support and mentoring they need to serve God, whether at home or abroad.

The seminary’s richest asset, however, is the supportive and welcoming learning environment we provide to those who come to study with us. Our student community consists of a range of people of all ages and nationalities who are preparing for various kinds of Christian service.

Distance Learning

This programme can be undertaken via Distance Learning.

We can offer supervised research in an area of interest by distance learning while remaining in your present position, making trips to ETS when required.

See Distance Learning FAQ for more information on Distance Learning at ETS.

Play Video

Watch this video where John Angus MacLeod and Sabbatical Studies student, Irene Bayne, explain to prospective students what the Sabbatical Studies Programme offers.

Further Information

The Admissions Policy for this course can be found here.

Course fees can be found here.

On successful completion of the course, all students will be awarded a Completion of Studies certificate at the Seminary’s Annual Awards Ceremony in May.

For further enquiries, please email the ETS Offices ([email protected]) or phone +44(0)131 718 4130.

Below are some examples of sabbatical research that may help you to choose your area for short-term research.

Theological Issues

  • Evolution, Intelligent Design, Creation – does it matter?
  • How can the authority of Scripture be defended in the modern world?
  • What does salvation mean and how can I best present that today?
  • How can I best present the theme of covenant theology to a people who do not think covenantally?

Ecclesiastical Issues

  • What place do women have in the leadership of the church according to Scripture?
  • How can I best co-operate with other church groups when I disagree with the way they govern their church?
  • Can evangelical churches work with ‘mixed’ denominations in spreading the gospel?


  • What are the best ways to disciple new Christians in the faith?
  • What about people who professed faith long ago – how can they still be discipled?
  • What are the biblical goals for discipleship?
  • Should discipleship be carried out one-to-one or in groups

Current Issues in Mission

  • What are the key principles to be aware of when we seek to cross cultures with the gospel?
  • Is this something that only occurs in crossing continents, or can it happen in reaching sub-cultures in the UK?
  • How can we best engage in dialogue with those of other religions without compromising our faith?

Mission in the 21st Century

  • How can I motivate my congregation to engage in mission?
  • Should there be specific training for mission shared by those who have served before?
  • Or has society changed so much that there is little to learn from the past?
  • What role do short mission trips have in preparing people?

Ethical Issues

  • How should we deal with the huge changes in the way in which sexuality and gender are now viewed?
  • How can I best welcome those who once were part of that world and disciple them in the faith?
  • In what ways can the church promote our love of the elderly in a society that accepts euthanasia?


  • What are the best ways to teach our church leaders to see the role they should have in evangelism of church families?
  • What about those who are unchurched – who should reach them?  Every member? Or should we select, train and send a few?
  • How does prayer really fit in with our evangelistic ministry?

Biblical Studies Issues

  • What is the best way of preaching through a book of the Bible taking account of its main structure, argument and themes?
  • Is it really desirable or possible to preach from the Minor Prophets?
  • How can I preach on a book the size of Isaiah?
  • How should I teach the continuity between the Old Testament and the New?

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