Do you have the heart of a visionary? A pioneer? A church planter?
Do you long to see Christians and churches bearing witness to the Good News of Jesus where presently there are none?
Are you willing to take risks to help make that vision a reality?
If that describes you, then you should consider:
A Master of Divinity for Church Pioneers
at Wycliffe College, at the University of Toronto
The world has changed, and the church is waking up to that change.
One of the first signs of that awakening was in 1974, when Lesslie Newbigin returned to England from India, and was shocked to realize that England had become as much of a mission field as India had ever been. The books he then wrote about how the church needs to change in order to respond to the new situation—particularly The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (1989)—have revolutionised how people think of the church’s task in today’s world.
Theological training is changing too. The kind of leadership that was required for established, healthy churches in a Christendom setting is radically different from what is needed in a post-Christian, post-modern setting where churches as we know them may not even exist. The church now needs visionary, mission-minded pastors for existing churches, as well as pioneers, entrepreneurs, and missionaries who can take the Gospel to cultures and subcultures in North America where Christ is not represented, and begin new Christian communities.
In recent years, all of Wycliffe College’s programs have changed in order to respond to this new reality.
One such innovation was the introduction of a “Pioneer Stream” into the Master of Divinity program in the Fall of 2010. The goal of this stream is to prepare students to plant churches, begin fresh expressions of church, and initiate new ministries outside the walls of existing churches.
What does this look like?
Students in the M.Div Pioneer Stream will take the same basic courses in Bible, theology, history and pastoral studies as other M.Div students.
In place of several elective courses, there will be more specialized pioneer-oriented courses, such as:
o Gospel, Church and Culture
o An Introduction to Church Planting and Fresh Expressions of Church
o Missional Spirituality
o A History of Christian Missions
o One of Dr Brian Walsh’s Christianity and Culture courses
Students in the Pioneer Stream will also:
o be encouraged to take advantage of extra-mural resources to help train pioneers
o meet pioneering leaders who are engaged in new ministries and church planting
o be given placements and internships which enable them to develop pioneering skills on the ground
o meet as a cohort for mutual support and prayer throughout their three years.
If this sounds like what you need to help you prepare for pioneering ministry . . .