More than 20 networks and emerging conferences around the world are seeking to join the ICOMB family. Many of the pastors and leaders of these churches barely have a grade school education, much less formal Bible training. That’s where a new partnership between MB Seminary and MB Mission/Multiply comes in, one of the several new initiatives as the seminary “moves beyond the founding stage to widened delivery,” says board chair Ron Penner.
MB Seminary will help develop global training modules that can be contextualized to different locations. This training lays a foundation of core ICOMB convictions and focuses on practical training in mission.
MB Seminary is expanding the opportunity to engage in evangelical-Anabaptist theological education to students across the country through new location and online possibilities, says MB Seminary president Mark Wessner.
In 2018, MB Seminary signed a partnership agreement with Horizon College & Seminary, Saskatoon, bringing MB Seminary locations to four, including Tyndale Seminary, Toronto., and Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg.
Courses are also available outside the classroom with two week-long intensives in churches: “Interpreting Scripture from a Mennonite Brethren Perspective” at New Hope Niagara, St. Catharines, Ont., in fall and “Old Testament Leadership and Spiritual Formation” at WMB, Waterloo, Ont., in spring.
Additionally, on behalf of ACTS Seminaries, MB Seminary is developing a borderless education ministry called ACTS World Campus. This new method of providing graduate education (to begin in 2019) will allow students in Canada or anywhere in the world to gain a seminary degree without the expense of relocating for proximity to a school.
Two new staff members will give leadership to the new programs: T Anderson, who holds an MBA and has experience in public education, is the ACTS World Campus Coordinator and Doug Heidebrecht, who continues to serve in an international setting is the director of global training.
“Cumulative enrollment at the seminary continues to trend higher,” says president Mark Wessner: from 92 students in 2015/2016 to more than 100 in 2017/2018. MinistryLift workshops reach an additional 1,081 church leaders with targeted training on leadership development related subjects.
These new initiatives and the seminary’s increased strategic presence in provincial decision making and serving on the national ministry team “will greatly aid us in functioning as the national seminary of the MB church in Canada in terms of theological and ministry leadership,” says Wessner.