Learning W-O-R-K before MTS
Have you run into a lot of people like me?
I finished Civil Engineering at RMIT University in November 1991.
I was keen to be a gospel worker ASAP. So I wanted to go straight to theological college and then “get on with it”.
Fortunately Gordon Cheng, my mentor at the time, spoke wisdom into my ears. He said,
“Benny, I reckon it’d be good if you did two things first. Firstly, spend 2-3 years in the workforce and secondly, do a 2 year ministry apprenticeship. You need to learn what life is like for 99% of the people you’ll pastor in the future and you also need to learn what ministry is like.”
I was so frustrated to hear that aged 21. But now, aged 48, I was so glad that I took his advice. My MTS Apprenticeship, under Gordon, allowed me to live the life of a Gospel Worker. It was awesome. And the time I spent in the workforce was invaluable too.
We at MTS strongly encourage people (especially blokes who develop relationally a bit slower than women) to spend time in the workforce before doing a ministry apprenticeship. Why? We want them to learn W-O-R-K before doing MTS.
Let me explain what I mean. We want them to learn:
W – how to manage their wages.
- We want people to be wise stewards of their resources, before they lead congregations to model wise stewardship of resources.
- We want them to get into the pattern of sacrificial regular giving during their workforce years.
- People sometimes leave school or Uni, start earning a wage and then do not want to continue with their previous gospel work plans. You cannot be a Gospel worker and ‘a lover of money’ (1 Tim 3:3).
O – how to get organised.
- It is great to learn time management skills before getting supported by the generous donations of the Christian community.
- So much of gospel ministry is administration. Time management allows you to be a better Gospel worker.
- We want people to see how hard it is to juggle work full time work, family commitments, church commitments plus extra curricula stuff… because that’s what future congregation members are doing.
R – how to manage work relationships
- If you’re a pastor overseeing a congregation post college, then more than likely 95% of those people will be in the regular workforce.
- If you want to equip the saints for ministry in the workplace, and you have never spent time there … it will be difficult.
- In the workforce you mature as a result of relating to a large number of people from all different demographics.
K – we want people to krave*, or ‘eagerly desire’ the job of an overseer (* I realise Crave starts with a C)
- In 1 Timothy 3:1 it says, “Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task”. Desire is mentioned twice.
- I have seen too many people “fall” into an apprenticeship after finishing school or Uni. They didn’t actively pursue it over and against another attractive option.
- It is far better for people to go into the workforce for the reasons mentioned above and then have to “decide” to leave the workforce to do a ministry apprenticeship.
At MTS we want to train not just a large quantity of gospel workers, but we want to train high quality people. The more mature an apprentice is when they start MTS, the more value they’ll glean from the experience.
Trainers, don’t rush into recruiting apprentices. Ask people, especially blokes, to spend 2-3 years in the workforce before doing MTS under you. A more mature apprentice will be better for a whole lot of people:
- their spouse (if they’re married)
- you, their Trainer
- your congregation
- their future theological college lecturers
- their future congregation members
- their future denomination officials
Jesus (Luke 3:23) and many of the Old Testament leaders didn’t start their public service (Ezek 1:1, 1 Sam 13:1, 2 Sam 5:4) until they were 30.
There is no rush. Nothing is wasted.
Young blokes have been in a hurry “to get on with it” well before 1991.
Young blokes have been in a hurry “to get on with it” since Moses was a pup.
But Trainers, please follow Gordon Cheng’s lead and remember, people need to learn W-O-R-K before MTS.