From the mission field — Mission Training Centers – Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod

From the mission field — Mission Training Centers – Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
A deaconess (right) from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania—South-East of Lake Victoria Diocese (SELVD) who was trained at the Bishop Makala Mission Training Center in Shinyanga, Tanzania, congratulates a choir member after the choir sang for worship on Sunday, May 12, 2019, at the Macedonia English Middle School in Shinyanga. Ministry to the albino population in the Shinyanga area is one outgrowth of the church’s expansion in the region. (LCMS/Erik M. Lunsford)

A Mission Training Center (MTC) is a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS)-supported program that helps parish pastors in Africa train men and women for service in the church. Local churches provide pastoral instructors, lodging and food; the LCMS provides teaching materials, assistance with costs and, sometimes, missionary instructors. Once trained, the leaders are equipped to share the Gospel in their own villages, which may result in the planting of a new congregation where no Lutheran church existed before. 

The Rev. Shauen Trump, regional director for LCMS Africa, reports that the MTC program has been used in Africa for over 25 years in such countries as Ghana, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa.

“The Mission Training Center program in the East of Lake Victoria Diocese (which split 10 years ago to become the East of Lake Victoria Diocese — ELVD — and the SouthEast of Lake Victoria Diocese — SELVD) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) started in 2002. The MTC program was instrumental in the growth of the church that led to the ELVD birthing the SELVD. The growth of the conservative and confessional SELVD has now led today to the establishment of a new seminary, the first conservative and confessional Lutheran seminary in the ELCT, in Shinyanga, Tanzania.  Concordia Theological Seminary Shinyanga is currently preparing for its first intake of students.” 

Most MTC programs meet once per month for four days and complete one MTC workbook in those four days. All workbooks are in English. Students who can read English receive a copy of the workbook and keep it for reference. Otherwise, the parish pastor translates the workbook as he teaches for those who do not speak or read English.

Recently, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK) relaunched its MTC program, starting with the books “Preparing to be a Church Leader” and “The Holy Bible.” Alfred Mukabi, an MTC student in Kakamega, Kenya, said, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. My journey as an MTC student has been a big milestone in my success story. The course ‘Preparing to be a Lutheran Leader’ has … enlightened and prepared me for the Lord’s vineyard. … I pray that through this program the ELCK church grows in western Kenya.”

Posted June 16, 2022

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