A new ministry program geared toward pastors and other adult learners who desire more training as church leaders will launch at Hesston College with the fall 2020 semester in August.
Called the Center for Anabaptist Leadership and Learning – or “CALL” – the program will be a hybrid of online and in-person learning that seeks to equip leaders for ministry and discipleship in daily life as ambassadors of Jesus Christ.
“CALL focuses on the Missional model of ministry, which equips every follower of Christ to live with sacred purpose by enabling them to do ministry and mission in their daily lives,” said Jessica Schrock-Ringenberg, director of CALL. “Every person has been called by God for a sacred purpose. CALL will focus on looking for sacred opportunities in the secular rather than thinking the secular needs to come to our church buildings to find Christ.”
CALL will operate with a variety of educational experiences. The primary experience will be a hybrid online certificate in missional leadership well-suited for those interested in church leadership education and for pastors with advanced degrees interested in further missional training.
“The Missional Leadership Certificate is an introduction to missional concepts and practices, as well as disciple-making,” said Schrock-Ringenberg. “It’s for those who seek particular emphasis in missional church and missional leadership, and who may not have the luxury of time or resources for general education courses.”
The in-person learning experiences part of the CALL program will be called Learning Labs, and will be short-term, immersive learning opportunities to put missional engagement to action. Learning Labs already in place include a partnership with Myanmar Mission International, a church planting network, to experience cross cultural leadership training and ministry opportunities, and a three-week urban experience in Philadelphia that partners with indigenous church leaders from several ethnic group congregations.
Short-term, non-credit educational opportunities geared toward congregational or other group learning will also be part of CALL through weekend experiences known as Weekend College. Focused on specific topics, Weekend College is launching in January 2020 with a “Bible as Story” offering based on Hesston College’s Biblical Literature (Bib Lit) course.
Other Weekend College topic offerings include “Five-fold Church Leadership” or “5Q” focused on organizing the life and ministries of the church around the Ephesians 4 ministries of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds (Pastors) and Teachers, and “Peacemaking and Justice,” which studies the biblical and theological foundation for nonviolence, peacemaking and justice through a historical Anabaptist perspective.
The CALL program replaces Hesston College’s Pastoral Ministries program, which was discontinued following the 2014 spring semester after 29 years of operation. When the Pastoral Ministries program ended, Hesston College administrators stated that the college would research and explore how best the college could continue to contribute to the pastoral and lay leadership needs of Mennonite Church USA and the wider church. The CALL program is the result of that discernment process.
“We are living in an exciting moment in church history where we are being called to explore new ways of being God’s Church in the world,” said Schrock-Ringenberg. “It is Hesston College’s call to partner with the church as we listen to the Holy Spirit’s direction and experiment together in mission.”