Ministry Quest Looks to Strong Future Beyond Grant
by Megan E. Richard
Ministry Quest Staff MB Biblical Seminary’s 1.6 million dollar Lilly Endowment grant will come to an end during the Summer of 2006. Over the last four years the funds have enabled the formation of Hearing the Call, a set of mutually supporting programs that equips congregations to “call out” youth and encourage them to consider vocational ministry. Ministry Quest is the largest component of Hearing the Call. Because of its success Ministry Quest will continue through at least 2009.
Ministry Quest RetreatSince 2003, 113 high school students and 106 mentors from 45 Mennonite Brethren (MB) churches in North America have participated in Ministry Quest’s program. Two non-MB churches have also taken part. Each year-long experience includes leadership retreats, church-based mentoring relationships, opportunities for ministry observation and a short-term ministry assignment (visit www.ministryquest.com for a full program overview). In cooperation with MB colleges in Canada and the United States, 59 college students have also participated in a Ministry Quest experience.
The benefits for students are immense, according to Ministry Quest Director Rick Bartlett. He says that they gain a sense of self that comes from being called out by their home church. They have an enriching cross-cultural experience and emerge from the program with a life-long desire to be in mentoring relationships.
The student’s home church also benefits in long-term ways as well. “Calling out young leaders for vocational ministry is something churches want to do,” says Bartlett. “Ministry Quest gives them a way to do that.”
The Seminary is committed to the ongoing success of the Ministry Quest program. No matter what form the program adopts in the future, Bartlett is confident that participating churches have the tools to continue calling out and mentoring young leaders in their congregation. “It is our hope,” Bartlett remarks, “through Hearing the Call and Ministry Quest that the culture of the church is changing, to take these concepts more seriously.”
Hearing the Call was the brainchild of its Director, John Neufeld. On April 1, Neufeld will transition to a new role as Coach for Emerging Leaders for the Canadian Conference of MB Churches.
“I want to affirm everything John has done,” says Bartlett. “He did a brilliant job of crafting a program that sets up a natural link with the local church and in doing so, values our Anabaptist heritage.”
In addition to Neufeld and Bartlett, the Ministry Quest staff includes Anne Friesen in Winnipeg, Sherri Eason in Fresno and volunteers Cam Prieb, Rhonda Dueck and Mike Rea.
If you are interested in calling out young leaders for vocational ministry from your church, visit www.ministryquest.com or call 1-800-251-6227.
MB Biblical Seminary, with campuses in Fresno, California; Langley, British Columbia and Winnipeg, Manitoba, inspires and equips men and women to live as disciples of Jesus Christ, and to serve and lead in the church and the world.
Posted: February 13, 2006