The Sandgroper helping Zimbabwe recruit apprentices

One of the most amazing stories in the MTS movement involves a Sandgroper (a Western Australian – Tim Thorburn) and Zimbabwe.  Tim has been training trainers in Zimbabwe.  Jacob Katiro, Planter and Pastor of Trinity Evangelical Church Harare, tells the story of Tim’s impact.


How I came to do ministry apprenticeship

I came to know of, and do a ministry apprenticeship through the two-year training that I successfully went through with Tim Thorburn and Antony Dandato as my Trainers. I went through this training together with 11 other Pastors that Antony Dandato identified in Zimbabwe.


How MAT (Ministry Apprenticeship Training) Zimbabwe started

MAT started in 2016 when a group of twelve Pastors (FOCUS Zimbabwe staff and full-time Pastors from Churches) were identified from various cities around Zimbabwe for training. Tim Thorburn trained this first group (TOT1). This first two-year training (2016 – 2018) marked MAT’s founding stage. Nine out of the twelve Pastors managed to successfully complete their two-year training. Three could not complete because of various challenges they experienced during the training period. Four out of the nine Pastors managed to train apprentices for two years. Some of the apprentices are already in theological training colleges and some are helping with gospel work in Church ministries.

The second group (TOT2) was made up of Pastors who were identified and recommended by trainees from TOT1. They commenced training with Tim in 2018 when he had finished training TOT1. This group successfully finished in Jan 2020.


MAT Current state

On the 15th of November 2019, MAT was officially registered as an existing entity under a Trust Deed. 2019 marked the commencement of MAT growth stage because the most important human resource, in the form of successfully trained Pastors by Tim, was now there. One of the most important features of this growth stage was the decentralisation of training points for apprentice trainers since the pioneer trainees (TOT1 and TOT2) are from various cities around Zimbabwe i.e. Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare, Masvingo, Chinhoyi, Bindura, Marondera and Chiredzi.

Fourteen Pastors have been mobilized for more trainings in these various cities for the growth stage. TOT1 and TOT2 is currently assisting with the training of more Pastors. A number of these Pastors have already started identifying and training apprentices.

Left: Apprentices after a successful 2019 Apprentice conference. Right: Trainers at the 2020 Apprentice Trainers Conference


How does Tim Thorburn help MAT Zimbabwe?

Tim Thorburn, as mentioned above, with Antony Dandato were at the forefront in establishing ministry apprenticeship in Zimbabwe (now MAT). Tim helps, and has been helping with the training of trainers since 2016 i.e. training resources (literature, money), as well as doing the actual training. He also helps with the structure and content that is used in the training sessions e.g. program-structure for apprentice conference and TOTs. Tim also helps fund activities that MAT runs especially the training of apprentices. We are grateful to God who is working through him to see gospel work grow through MAT Zimbabwe.

In the pic: Rosemary & Tim Thorburn leading discussions (Pastors’ wives & Trainers respectively) during the Trainers’ conference 2020


In Christ,