Period of Discernment  

Is God calling you to step out in a new direction in faith and ministry?

The Period of Discernment (PoD) is a structured, self-directed process that helps you consider God’s call through a combination of reflection, prayer, conversation and learning.

During this 12 month period you will:

  • enrich your relationship with God
  • gain an understanding of the serving ministries of the church
  • recognise and build on your skills, knowledge, experience and passions
  • discern what kind of ministry you are being called to through mentorship

The PoD combines formal study with pastoral guidance. You will be guided by a supportive mentor as you undertake formal study, including a study of the history and polity of the Uniting Church, get a taste for ministry through experience and attend a discernment retreat.

Throughout this process you will record your thoughts and reflections that will form a basis for discussion with your mentor and your final presentation to the Period of Discernment Team where you will share what you have discerned.

This is an exciting and important journey where you will be supported as you explore your call, and one I feel privileged to be part of.

If you are interested in enrolling for the PoD, please contact Uniting College on 08 8416 8420 or for a no-obligations meeting and discussion. We would love to hear your story and discuss your options.



The Period of Discernment is available to anyone who is in good standing in a congregation or faith community within the Uniting Church, regardless of academic background. People seeking appointment as a Deacon or Minister of the Word are required to undertake the PoD and have been a confirmed member of the Uniting Church for 12 months prior to applying for candidature.

You will be required to study two units comprising of a compulsory core unit and an elective. The core unit is ‘Engage in our Christian Heritage’ (VET Course Code 10496NAT). It is a vocational and educational unit that explores the history and polity of the Uniting Church, which is presented via a blend of online and distance teaching.  Through the R H White Trust, you can apply for a scholarship for the compulsory core unit, ‘Engage in our Christian Heritage’. An application form is available online: View our Scholarship page here.

You can choose your elective from any that makes up the Certificate IV Christian Life and Ministry, Diploma of Ministry, Bachelor of Ministry or Bachelor of Theology. Please see the Adelaide College of Divinity handbook for further details and enrolment forms.

With your mentor you will develop a ‘Learning and Serving’ agreement outlining a process, by which you agree to gain academic study and practical ministry experience during your PoD.

Throughout the Period of Discernment you may wish to record your thoughts and reflections in a portfolio, which can take any form and include writing, photography, video or other creative elements. At the end of your PoD you will be required to write a 1000 word article summarising your experiences and reflections for the PoD Team. The L&S will form the basis of your discussions in your monthly mentor meetings as you as you reflect on your progress and discern God’s call on your life.

It is required that you attend at least one overnight retreat to reflect on what has already happened in your life, what is currently happening, and where God might be leading you.

This will be followed by significant times of quiet reflection and listening as to what God may be saying to you.

The retreats are led by experienced ministry practitioners at the Nunyara Conference Centre in Belair. All meals are provided.

Please contact Uniting College for Leadership & Theology for details of when the next retreat is on.

It is recommended that you attend a training course about the Uniting Church’s code of ethics, including the prevention of sexual misconduct. Code of ethics training is essential study for candidates for ministry.

For details of when the next Code of Ethics training is scheduled please visit the Code of Ethics page or contact Uniting College.

The PoD attracts the following fees and costs:

  • an administration fee of $50 that is payable at is the time of registration
  • study units attract the normal fees, which are payable at the time of enrolment (you can apply for a scholarship to cover the cost)
  • the cost of attending a discernment retreat is to be advised closer to the date

It is essential that  you meet with one of the staff at Uniting College before you enrol for the PoD. Please contact us at 08 8416 8420 or send an email to  to set up an appointment.