MTS goes Blue Collar

Tara Sing

More information

MTS Blue Collar website

A new style of training has been launched in Sydney with the aim of reaching and equipping blue-collar workers.

Called Blue Collar MTS, it is an initiative of the Ministry Training Strategy (MTS) and operates similar to an apprenticeship, offering Christians who are hands-on learners a practical approach to theological study through four days of work in their churches and one day a week of TAFE-style education.

“The reason we have started this ministry training is because we don’t believe God has made everyone with the learning styles and gifts to go through a theological college,” says MTS apprenticeship co-ordinator Andrew Beddoe. “That way of learning doesn’t always suit their learning style. We’re adapting the material to make it more practical.”

The need for such a program became clear to Mr Beddoe after he saw many gifted men with trade backgrounds who would not seriously consider full-time ministry.

“The pathway to that was something they didn’t think they were cut out to do,” he says. “My concern is that there has been neglect in training for the hands-on person and God’s given us the opportunity to have a go at addressing the issue.”

Pilot program

Having never tried something like this before, MTS director Ben Pfahlert was keen to give it a go. “Blue collar ministry recruiting and training is a very complex area,” he says. “We employed Andrew Beddoe to do research and development work for 12 months and set him the goal of starting a pilot program of five apprentices in 2011.”

The program has three apprentices this year and several more are considering the program for 2012.

Matthew Bennett switched from doing the regular Ministry Training Strategy to the blue-collar program as he liked the combination of theological study with hands-on experience.

“There’s a real emphasis that when they develop resources and material it’s geared towards learning how to put it into practice,” he says. “I’m excited about being assisted in the nuts and bolts of Christian ministry. “

The goal is to see an increase in the number of blue-collar workers equipped with the knowledge and skills to serve both in church and in the workforce.

Says Mr Beddoe: “My hope and prayer is that we’ll see a new generation of leaders who can effectively reach the 75 per cent of Australians who don’t go to university. We need all different people who will do all different types of ministry. We want to provide training to equip them to do that.”



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