After a couple years of development, based upon over twenty years of leadership materials which we have used in churches, we have launched the new MCNet Christian Leadership Institute (initially in Latin America, the Dominican Rep.) This new program will use some of our existing materials as well as new leadership courses we have written to equip leaders who feel a calling to serve the Church (not necessarily within a church building).
The program will take a total of four years to complete, with candidates earning two certificates (Christian Leadership Certificate & Christian Ministry Cert.). However, it is actually a completely different way of developing leaders for ministry than a typical seminary or bible school. It focuses on assessing competencies within the context of a mentoring relationship.
Altogether, there are about 40 competencies in which each candidate will be assessed. Then according to their level of proficiency in each they will have learning activities assigned for them to complete. Some of the competencies included are: character, gifts, spiritual disciplines, EQ, Team Dynamics, Interpersonal Health, Marriage and so on. Their basic biblical and theology knowledge are also assessed.
This differs from a traditional approach which focuses on writing papers, reading a certain amount of pages, and passing exam. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, a competency centered focus ensures that the program is much more tailored to the candidate, while at the same time assessing key areas that are necessary to be effective in ministry over a lifetime.
Another key component to the program is that every candidate spends time with a mentor who guides them through the learning process. Some existing seminaries and schools have attempted this approach but have encountered the challenge of retooling “professors” to be mentors or finding enough mentors to scale up the program. The advantage we have is that for at least the last twenty years our Ministry Coaches (MCNet) have developed a network of mentors in each of their regions.
For Such a Time
We believe that focusing on competencies, combined with a mentorship, is a more balanced approach and more effectively reflects biblical values, as a way to train future ministers. The events of the last couple years have accelerated the move that was already happening towards this approach to learning and made it even more applicable and desirable.
While this approach is still unique to ministerial training, a competency approach to training employees is becoming more common in the marketplace. Rather than looking for academic degrees and time spent in college, employers are looking for those who have the necessary competencies to accomplish the tasks required for a particular job. It would seem that this is a much more holistic approach for those training for the practical task of ministry.
Timing is everything and it seems that the pandemic has accelerated the changes that were already being made in the field of education. Not only from a technological point of view, but also leaders being more open to a relational approach. A new website/database has also been created (mcnetcli.org) so that each candidate and mentor will be able to access all our materials, as well as track their progress. Translation into Spanish has begun and later this year we anticipate beginning the Russian translation.
In January Carlos and Raydel enrolled candidates in the program in the DR and we are hoping to do the same in our Eurasia Region (Europe/Ukriane/Russia) later this year. Thank you for your prayers as we initiate this new exciting way to train the next generation of leaders.