Happy birthday, MTS
From humble beginnings at the University of NSW, the Ministry Training Strategy is celebrating 40 years of training gospel workers through ministry apprenticeships. More than 2500 people have been trained for ministry since 1979, with nearly half of these entering some form of vocational gospel work.
It all started with two uni students spending a few years after their degrees working alongside Phillip Jensen, the then chaplain at UNSW. Now, more than 200 churches across Australia, and several in countries overseas, are training people through ministry apprenticeships.
The apprentices train under a paid gospel worker, gaining skills and experience for ministry by having a go and being mentored along the way.
Ben Pfahlert, the national director of MTS, is so thankful to God for the way the training is producing workers for the harvest.
“Hundreds of apprentices now serve as gospel workers overseas and across Australia,” he says. “Past apprentices are evangelists, youth pastors, children’s pastors, church pastors, military chaplains, college lecturers, authors, ministry founders etc. The web is wide and strong.”
Brandon Bonnici, who started an apprenticeship in 2016 with MBM Rooty Hill, describes his experience in two words: “Absolutely fantastic!”
“I’ve had lots of opportunities to share the gospel, which is my passion,” he adds. “I’ve also been in a full-time youth pastor role, which was a surprise, but I love it. I never felt drawn to youth ministry but now I look past the age and just see lost souls that need to come to Jesus, and other souls that need to grow in their love for Jesus.” Since finishing his apprenticeship, Mr Bonnici is now the youth pastor for MBM.
So what’s in store for the next 40 years of MTS? There are no signs of slowing down, with Mr Pfahlert focused on raising more trainers to guide and teach apprentices.
“We have recruited about 250 apprentices per annum for the past five to 10 years,” he says. “We’d really like to work hard, under God, to equip past apprentices – who are now pastors themselves – to train their own apprentices and increase that number to 400 apprentices, without dropping the quality, without compromising on Christ-like character.
“Trainers are the key.”