Best Practices in Ministry (BPM), a free conference hosted by Christ Church in Phoenix, was THE place to be this past February. Not only was the weather amazing — sunny and warm in beautiful Arizona — but thousands of leaders from all over the country were also there to learn, connect, and share ministry resources and tools. One especially informative session focused on Mission Training Center and was led by its new director, Rev. Jonathan Priest. A recording of it is included as part of the newest episode of the NOWLeading Podcast (see below).
“Our goal is to move people out of the pews and onto ‘the bench’ of your team in the congregation,” said Priest, using a sports analogy. Rev. Priest (who jokes winsomely about his last name) served many congregations throughout his pastoral career, including most recently at Trinity Lutheran Church in Seattle. During his presentation at BPM, he said MTC does not train people to be pastors – it’s actually about empowering leaders in every congregation through quality training to use their gifts to support pastors and the greater ministry of their churches.
MTC is a robust lay leadership training platform that helps develop women and men for mission. It is supported by the West Coast LCMS Districts (CNH, NOW, PSD) in partnership with Concordia University Irvine (and other expansion possibilities are “in the works”). The courses are all online, with emerging asynchronous access, so people can join from anywhere, at any time, in the world.
Pastors: Just imagine having a crew of people working as a team together to help make the ministry of your faith community successful. Sounds great, right? This is one of the things MTC does. It helps churches build a bench of lay people who are prepared to serve well in a variety of leadership roles. This allows pastors to focus even more on their called duties – proclaiming and teaching the Word and administering the sacraments – rather than trying to be an expert in everything. This includes logistics such as facilities management, business administration, financials, youth and families, music, etc. Priest knows what it’s like to run a ministry with responsibilities that are wildly outside of his skill set. He also has experienced what a huge help it is to have congregational leaders who DO know those areas. And he knows that MTC is able to train more people with those areas of expertise to fill a congregation’s bench.
“We’re a platform, not a program. And we want to create content that is need-oriented to what you’re looking for for your bench,” Priest said.
MTC is about welcoming gifts, empowering people to use their gifts, and identifying capable people in your congregation so the pastor doesn’t have to do it all. Current MTC offerings can be found here
This NOWLeading Podcast episode is loaded with info. You will want to listen carefully to understand just how MTC, a premiere partner of the NOW District, functions and serves you right where you are.
Note: The recording of this session is also freely available along with all other BPM sessions as resources to the greater church here on YouTube.
Listen to the full episode below.