By Stephen Andrews
It has been long understood in training and church circles that higher education of the academic nature is not the only way to prepare men and women for gospel ministry. In fact, to only offer an academic pathway limits training to only a few, excluding a great many of God’s people.
MST & Eastern acknowledges this and building on our past offerings in the Vocational sector, we are enthusiastic about developing further our Vocational pathway so as to encourage and equip many more of God’s people for ministry. So for example, this year I have been encouraged by the Executive Leadership (Tim Meyers, Peter Tyrell and Jude Long) to revise and enhance our Certificate IV in Christian Ministry and Theology so that it provides solid biblical teaching and opportunities for hands on learning and assessment.
The Gospels and Jesus
As you may be aware, vocational training takes place in a workplace context. It can be likened to the apprenticeship model of training. We have a very good biblical basis for this kind of training, as the Gospel of John shows us Jesus himself as an apprentice to his Father. Jesus then uses the same method with his 12 disciples. They learnt from him, as he modelled life and ministry. Then, Jesus gave them opportunities to have a go themselves. Along the way, the Gospels record for us accounts of intimate times of reporting and reflection, of questions being asked and answered, and ultimately, lives transformed and equipped. At the end of their 3 year apprenticeship, it was the eleven to whom Jesus gave the great commission.
Who is this training for?You may be someone passionate for God and ministry, but for one of many reasons, the academic pathway does not suit who you are and what you need. Here we have the opportunity to feed your hunger for God and equip you and encourage your gifts and talents without the academic burden. That’s right, no exams and no long essays! But, you will for example, learn how to read the Bible and lead a one on one reading of the Bible with someone and with a group. You will look at culture, and what it means to serve on a team. You will be introduced to evangelism, discipleship and church planting methods. In fact, it is possible that an outcome of doing this course would be the planting of a new church! You may be a gap year student, or someone looking to be equipped as a small group leader, or a deacon or elder in training, or certainly someone in a cross-cultural or marketplace context.
Partnerships – Local Church and Mission Internships
With this course, we will encourage you to be active in your local church or mission context not after, but during, the training. It is a strategic pathway that can be integrated into a local church or mission internship program, which we are already seeing modelled with us for example by churches in Albany WA. As church leaders, this course offers you the opportunity to offer to your people training that will help grow your people, church and mission outreach for His glory.
May the Lord Jesus equip you with everything good for doing His will (Heb 13:20).