WHY NOT GO STRAIGHT TO THEOLOGICAL OR BIBLE COLLEGE?
While this may may work for certain people, there are real benefits in taking up a ministry apprenticeship before engaging in three or four years of serious theological study. A ministry apprenticeship can help you work out whether or not you’re suitable for Word ministry before committing three or four years of your life to full-time theological study. It will be harder and more inconvenient to confront this reality at the end of three or four years of study when the personal cost of changing tracks is greater. Even if you decide not to pursue full-time paid Christian work after your apprenticeship, a ministry apprenticeship is still worthwhile to do because your decision then will be wise and informed, stemming from the hands-on practical experience you’ve gained. Should you decide to go on to enrol in serious theological study, your time as a ministry apprentice will help you to appreciate the value of a theological education and will prove invaluable in having equipped you for the realities of ministry in a range of settings.
CAN I DO MY APPRENTICESHIP PART-TIME?
One of the real benefits of a MTS apprenticeship is the opportunity to experience being a full-time Gospel worker. You could describe the experience as “being immersed up to your eye-balls in ministry” – though always in safe way, under the watchful oversight of your trainer.
It is difficult for an apprentice with work commitments to fully experience being a full-time Gospel worker as the demands of ministry are such that that will continually be forced to choose between work and ministry – between say finishing the preparation for tonight’s bible study group, or getting to work on time.
To ensure an apprentice fully benefits from a ministry apprenticeship, MTS usually does not permit Team Leader or Team Member apprenticeships to be undertaken on a part-time basis.
WHY IS TWO YEARS THE RECOMMENDED DURATION FOR AN APPRENTICESHIP?
Ministry is conducted in relationship. We could cover the content of a ministry apprenticeship in a classroom context in just a few weeks, but that is not the point. The real learning happens over time as the apprentice’s relationships develop with their trainer and with the people they are serving. It is usually in the second year that progress is identified and difficulties begin to emerge. Over the two years, apprentices see people converted, Bible study groups starting to make progress, and struggling Christians making tough decisions to follow Christ. They also see mistakes they have made, their failure to get their priorities right, etc, so they get to know themselves, their strengths and their weaknesses. In the second year, deep learning occurs. The two-year apprenticeship also gives continuity to the local ministry in terms of leadership.
IF AN APPRENTICE DOES NOT PROCEED ONTO VOCATIONAL MINISTRY, HAS THE TRAINER OR APPRENTICE ‘FAILED’?
No. Over the years, we have seen many complete the apprenticeship and then—having learnt much about God, ministry, people and themselves—decide not to proceed towards a paid ministry role. This is a great outcome. Beyond their apprenticeship, these people have shown themselves to be godly and able leaders in their own churches, serving in all kinds of ways in personal, small group and administrative roles. The trainer has failed if they make their apprentices feel like second-class citizens if they do not go onto vocational ministry. In addition, the trainer has failed if they encourage apprentices to proceed into ministry roles for which they are not suited. Every member of the body of Christ contributes to the building of the church, but they do so in their own way.
IS IT OK TO HAVE A PART-TIME JOB WHILE DOING A FULL-TIME MTS APPRENTICESHIP?
One significant benefit of an MTS Apprenticeship is that you get the opportunity to experience “life as a full-time Gospel worker”, with its ambiguous priorities, porous borders between personal space/time and work space/time. Experience the real hard-work required for do ministry well, as well as the joy and the tears.
This is especially relevant for those apprentices who are changing career and apprentices who plan to invest a further 4 years studying theology at college after their apprenticeship completes – the question they need to answer to is: “When I finish and I’m working in ministry, will it be what I’m expecting or hoping, or is this all a terrible mistake?”. An MTS apprenticeship in which you live the life of a Gospel worker for two years will help you answer that question.
Working part-time during an apprenticeship dilutes this experience and divides your loyalities. For example: Yesterday was really busy and difficult, and this morning is little better, and so the preparation for tonight’s Youth Group talk did get done when you planned – and still needs to be done. Unfortuneately you are committed to a full afternoon shift with your part-time employer this afternoon. Which do you choose? Who are you going to get let down?
MTS expects that the church community where the apprentice is being trained will ensure that the apprentice is paid sufficiently, or received sufficient in scholarship payments, to address their financial circumstances.
MTS recommends that apprentices do not seek to have a part-time job during their apprenticeship.
IS MY MTS SCHOLARSHIP TAXABLE?
The ATO provides an on-line Decision Tool to assist scholarship receipients to determine whether their scholarship is taxable. Your MTS Scholarship is an “Academic Scholarship” that was awarded to you “on merit”.
To view the ATO’s on-line Decision Tool click here
Note to apprentices undertaking an ASTC (Academic Studies in Theology Certificate) through the Timothy Partnership: One of the ATO criteria for scholarship payments to be non-assessable, is that the scholarship recipient is studying on a full-time basis. Undertaking 3 ASTC units during a semester would qualify the apprentice to be studying on a full-time basis during the semester, undertaking only 1 unit of study would not qualify the apprentice to be studying on a full-time basis during the semester.
WHAT MIGHT MY WEEK LOOK LIKE?
Apprentice weeks vary from training centre to training centre, however to provide you with some insight we asked one apprentice to describe what a typical week for them would look like.
DOES THE CHURCH NEED TO WAIT FOR THE APPLICATION PERIOD CLOSE BEFORE INTERVIEWING APPLICANTS AND PROVIDING MTS WITH A SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT RECOMMENDATION
A church may interview an applicant and also provide MTS with a scholarship recipient recommendation prior to the closure date for scholarship application period as long as the church is willing to consider an additional scholarship if a later application is also considered meritorious.
Please note that in the years that MTS Scholarships have been running, we are not aware of a church receiving a later meritorious application, having already provided MTS with a scholarship recipient recommendation.
WHAT DOES MY MTS REGISTRATION / MANAGEMENT & SUPPORT FEE PAY FOR?
Ministry Apprentices who are registered with MTS pay either a Registration Fee or a Management and Support Fee. Click here to understand what the MTS Registration Fee / Management & Support Fee pays for.