Lay Minister Preparatory Course

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The Lay Ministers Preparatory Course (in Japanese, 教人資格講習会, kyōtō shikaku kōshūkai) is a spiritual development course that is a follow-up course to any primary spiritual training such as: Shuyoka, Spiritual Development Course, or Three Day Course. The course consists of three 5-day sessions and each session can be taken at different times. The English course is only available once a year, which starts from August 27th and ends on September 10th. This course mainly consists of lectures and only a few sessions of Hinokishin, basically, a lecture and discussion-intense version of Shuyoka. This is also a prerequisite for the Minister Qualification Course.


Required textbooks and other materials

The course requires the following texts and materials (as of 2017):


Other materials

  • A pair of service fans
  • Knee pads (for corridor-cleaning hinokishin)
  • Koto picks (for women's instruments)

Required attire

The course requires the following attire (as of 2017):

  • Happi
  • An obi or belt (to wear with the happi)
  • "You may not wear miniskirts, shorts, or tunics even if you wear leggings or long pants underneath." Dress trousers, casual trousers or jeans are acceptable.
  • "Sandals are not allowed even in the summer. As a rule, students should wear rubber-soled shoes that do not make a noise."


Breakfast/lunch meal service at one of Church Headquarters dining halls (Shokudo 1, 2...etc.) begins the lunch of opening ceremony day and ends the breakfast of closing ceremony day. The breakfast of opening ceremony day and the lunch of closing ceremony day are taken at the dormitories (tsumesho). Dinner is always taken at the dormitories.



As of 2017, the Lay Minister Preparatory Course begins on the 27th of each month (the day following the Monthly Service at Church Headquarters). The entire course takes place over fifteen days, without observing weekends or holidays. The course is divided into three segments, Part I (Zenki), Part II (Chuki), and Part III (Koki).

Each segment is five days long. Some lay minister candidates opt to take one segment at a time, returning at a later month to complete the remaining segment(s); this plan seems to work well for those who live relatively near Jiba and who can only take so many days off work at a time. Other lay minister candidates opt to attend the entire course in one go; this seems to be the more appropriate option for overseas followers.

The class begins each day with Morning Service at the Main Sanctuary, whose starting time varies by month. The class ends each day at around 4:30pm. The students then return to their dormitories to have dinner, perform the Evening Service, and fulfill any other obligations.


Content that is covered in the course (as of 2017):


  • Morning Assembly/Homeroom (lectures by a homeroom teacher)

Part I (Zenki)

  • First half of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo
  • Front half of Mikagura-uta (Seated – Song 6)
  • Front half of Service Dance Practice (Seated – Song 6)
  • Service and Ritual Procedures
  • Historical Site Visit

Part II (Chuki)

  • The Life of Oyasama
  • Back half of Mikagura-uta (Song 7 – Song 12)
  • Back half of Service Dance Practice (Song 7 – Song 12)
  • Service Dance Practice check-up
  • Musical Instruments Practice
  • Missionary Work
  • A workshop (topics covered in the past include Anecdotes of Oyasama, "A Single Word")

Part III (Koki)

  • Second part of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo
  • Group Discussions on several topics
  • Lecture on Vertical Mission
  • Lecture on Missionary Work
  • Corridor cleaning hinokishin
  • A workshop (topics covered in the past include Anecdotes of Oyasama, "A Single Word")
  • Lecture by Honbu-in
  • A final written exam

What differentiates this course with Shuyoka and the Spiritual Development Course is that it includes Group Discussion periods, which is an activity in which the instructor facilitates discussions between the students in small groups and provides input when necessary.

Becoming a Lay Minister

After the course is completed, the graduate is now qualified to register as a Lay Minister with the approval of his or her church head minister and parent church head minister. A Lay Minister is basically a Yoboku who is self-obligated to become a model for other Tenrikyo followers within his or her respective community. In the course handbook, it says:

"This course aims at training Yoboku to become lay ministers who are always conscious of their positions as Yoboku, who strive for further spiritual growth, and who devote themselves to single-hearted salvation. Most important, students of this course must be motivated to seek the teachings and implement them by taking advantage of being right by Oyasama's side, by God the Parent's side."