What is Workers for the Harvest?

Workers for the Harvest is a brand new, practical, missional ministry leadership training program. Classes are all online and on-demand and taught by experienced missional ministers who are called to mentor and teach the next generation of ministry leaders.

Who is Workers for the Harvest for?

Anyone who is seeking to take steps to answer God’s call to greater Kingdom ministry for whom traditional seminary instruction is impractical due to financial, geographic, and/or time constraints. Students may be called to serve as contract pastors, church planters, evangelists or other congregational ministry leaders.

What’s the idea behind the name?

In Matthew 9, Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”  We believe that the harvest is still abundant and we desperately need women and men to be sent out into the harvest.  But we also realize that the harvest workers we are praying for need training that is accessible, faithful, and practical.  So as we pray to the Lord of the harvest for workers to be sent out into the harvest, we are preparing to equip those whom he calls for the work that lies ahead of them.

How does the online classroom work?

All classes are taken as independent study courses through a personal online classroom. Each student works at his or her own pace through each course. Simply login to your classroom from any internet connected device to continue your progress. Each class will consist of 16-20 hours of video lessons which are pre-recorded by the instructor. In addition, your personal online classroom will guide you step by step through the entire course: required readings, video lectures, research and writing assignments, projects and even exams!  Need to submit a paper or project to your instructor?  Simply upload your document or video right in your online classroom. It’s that easy.

Who will my instructors be? Do they have ministry experience?

All classes will be taught by faculty who are currently serving or formerly have served in ministry and have specific experience in the field they are teaching. Each is a credentialed pastor by his or her church body and at the very minimum holds a master’s degree. Most importantly, every instructor loves Jesus and His church and is called to invest in raising up future ministry leaders like yourself.

Will I ever meet my instructors in real time?

Virtually, yes! Each course will require you to spend 4-8 hours of time in one-on-one video conferences with your instructor. While each instructor may use conference time differently, generally it will be your time to engage directly with the faculty, ask any questions, and discuss the course material and how it applies to practical ministry. In addition to getting to know you as their student, your instructors will be using this time to gauge your grasp of the material and ability to verbally articulate and discuss its application. By the time you complete the program, you will have mentor relationships with a dozen teaching faculty who are invested in you and your future ministry!  

Is this a Lutheran program? Do I have to be Lutheran?

Our program was founded by the Texas District of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ and we teach from the perspective of our Statement of Faith. Students from other Christian backgrounds are welcome to enroll and learn from our faculty. We ask all students to adhere to our Code of Conduct and a common Christian profession of faith as well as make a commitment to pursue an active life of faith as a disciple of Jesus through personal devotion and participation in a local congregation. We ask all students to respect the Lutheran theological perspective from which we teach. Likewise, you can expect your instructors to respect you and your theological perspective. Above all else, we believe that we exist to be a part of God’s Kingdom building activity in the world.

Besides online and on-demand course delivery, what makes this program unique?

Every course in this program will be taught from a non-traditional, multiplication perspective that emphasizes evangelizing the lost, discipling the found, and equipping leaders to multiply. This philosophy of ministry is an essential building block of our program’s DNA. Most seminary programs emphasize an academic pursuit of biblical and theological studies along with traditional, pastor-centered ministry education. Workers for the Harvest, while providing a faithful foundation in Bible and Theology, will emphasize practical ministry leadership methods for the present and future church that are faithfully grounded in biblical practices of evangelism, discipleship, and equipping ministries for multiplication.

I’m interested in practical ministry preparation.

How does an online program provide any hands-on learning?

Each student will be assigned to a local congregation and supervisor for a Ministry Apprenticeship. This will be your opportunity to observe and practice ministry in a context and be mentored by your supervising pastor. Each of your Practical Courses in Mission and Ministry will include assignments for you to observe and reflect as well as to practice your ministry skills.

How long does it take to complete a course?

That largely depends on you! The program is designed for you to learn at your own pace and on your own schedule. Each course will consist of 20-24 hours of “class time” (video lectures or video conferences). In addition, you should expect to spend an additional 20-48 hours outside of class time on reading and other class assignments.

What about the entire program? How long does it take to graduate?

Again, each student can learn at his or her own pace. However, there are some speed limiters. First of all, a student may only be enrolled in three classes at a time. In addition, you must complete the 5 Foundational Courses in Bible and Theology and receive a positive endorsement before proceeding to the 7 Practical Courses in Mission and Ministry and your Ministry Apprenticeship. Your Ministry Apprenticeship will need to be with an approved supervisor for a minimum of 9 months and continue until you have completed all Mission and Ministry courses. The final course is a capstone project taught by the instructor of your choice. All that being said, it may be possible for a full-time student to complete the program in 12 months. We anticipate, however, that most students will take 18-24 months for program completion. Also, keep in mind that since this is a new program, courses will come available as teaching faculty develop them. Each course requires a substantial investment of time to develop. It is our hope that all courses will be online and the program fully developed by 2022.  

What is endorsement?

Endorsement is a faculty review of your progress after taking the first five Foundational Courses in Bible and Theology. This is our opportunity to reflect on your readiness to proceed to the next step in the program. It is important that we ensure that you are setup for success in your Ministry Apprenticeship and the rest of the program. With a positive endorsement, your faculty are saying “We believe in you!”  

Can I stay in my current church for my Ministry Apprenticeship?

Quite possibly, yes! It all depends upon your circumstances. If you are currently employed as a church worker, then we will seek to accommodate you in your current setting. We will work with your Senior Pastor to supervise your Ministry Apprenticeship. If you are currently a solo pastor, we will identify a pastor who would be willing to serve as your supervisor. If you are not a church worker and have not had many church experiences apart from your home church, we may identify a church and pastor nearby for your Ministry Apprenticeship. In all cases, assignments are made in collaboration between you, potential sites and supervisors, and the Program Director.  

Is the program accredited?

Our program is a ministry preparation certification administered by the Texas District of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ. While Workers for the Harvest has no formal educational accreditation, the program is designed to offer seminary-level ministry preparation for those seeking to grow in their ministry leadership capacity and serve as contract pastors, church planters, or other specialized ministry leaders.  

What about admissions requirements? Do I need a college degree to be admitted?

Not necessarily. While we will not require any degree, the program is expecting master’s level work. Applicants without a bachelor’s degree will need to demonstrate college-level competency in reading and writing. In addition, pastoral and other character references will help inform our admissions decision.  

When I’m done, can I be certified as a pastor?

While every church body has different certification standards, Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ requires a Master of Divinity degree or it’s equivalent. While our program certainly includes much of what is necessary to meet standards to be a certified pastor, additional education would be required. Any of our graduates who wish to be certified by LCMC are invited to continue his or her education through another seminary partner to fulfill all the Ministry Board’s requirements for certification. Contact the LCMC Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry for more information. Graduates would, however, be eligible to serve as contract call pastors.

Is the program affordable?

Yes! The program is sponsored by LCMC Texas District who has underwritten the startup costs and is bearing most of the ongoing administrative burden. For students connected to an LCMC Texas congregation, each class costs $250. For the entire program, we estimate tuition and fees to come to $3950. Other students will pay a slightly higher tuition of $300 per class, with the program total at an estimated $4850. Plus, you get to pay as you go. You can use any major credit or debit card to pay for the classes you are ready to take through our online course registration system.

What about books?

In addition to the tuition, you will be responsible for obtaining your required books for each class. Thankfully most ministry resources are very affordable as compared to academic text books. Costs will vary from course to course.

My spouse wants to take classes with me. Can we go through the program together?

Yes! We will even discount the spouse’s tuition by 50% for every course you enroll in simultaneously. While you will be expected to each complete most assignments and assessments separately, your conference time with your instructors would be together. Upon satisfactory completion of the program, both spouses will receive a certificate.

What about financial aid? I really can’t take on any debt.

We will not accept student loans and are committed to working to find scholarships for students that truly need them. If finances are holding you back, please contact the Program Director to find out what help may be available for you to pursue your ministry education.

What if I cannot complete a course or the program and need to withdraw?

Are there any refunds?

Unfortunately, we cannot issue course refunds for courses paid for, but there is no deadline by which you need to complete the course. If you need to take a break, your courses will be waiting for you when you come back. If you do not intend to complete the program, simply let us know and you will be placed in non-active status. If you wish to resume courses in the future, we will re-activate you as a student and you can pick-up with where you left off at any time.

When can I apply for admission?

Applicants may begin applying in Fall of 2019, although classes will not be ready for enrollment until Winter of 2020. Check back in October and click “Apply”.

What about other students? Will I ever have the opportunity to collaborate?

One of the challenges of an online, on-demand ministry training program is the development of a learning community. While we can in no way guarantee students a connection with other students going through the same classes at the same time, we will do what we can to connect those students who are. In addition, we plan to host a special Winter Retreat for students in Concan, Texas annually Friday night through Sunday afternoon the last weekend in January.

More Questions?

Check back for more information as the program develops. You may also contact Program Director Bryce Formwalt at 512-942-7776 or bryce@lcmctexas.org with any questions you may have.