Spring MTS Courses Transformative for Spiritual Growth and Ministry Aspirations

Monday, August 9, 2021

Graduate students in Conrad Grebel University College’s Master of Theological Studies (MTS) program choose from a selection of courses each year, spanning topics on the Bible, theology, church history, ministry, music, leadership, and pastoral care. Periodically, Grebel offers additional courses taught by visiting lecturers who broaden the scope of the program’s regular course offerings. This spring, two special intensive courses focused on aspects of practical ministry that are invaluable for students interested in working in congregations or other settings.

Allan Rudy-Froese taught his much anticipated Preaching course, which is usually offered at Grebel every two years. “Allan is the expert on preaching in the Mennonite Church and is a sought-after teacher and workshop leader,” explained Professor Jeremy Bergen, Director of the MTS program. “I’m grateful he is able to teach occasionally in our program, even though he is a full-time faculty member at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Indiana.” Rudy-Froese’s research brings homiletics, theology, biblical studies and performance theory to bear on preaching.

Bruxy Cavey on ZoomAlso this spring, Bruxy Cavey taught Church As Mission. Cavey has pioneered a unique ministry model as the Teaching Pastor at The Meeting House, a multi-site megachurch, with an Anabaptist identity, and a strong focus on small groups. He is especially effective at communicating a holistic account of the gospel in the current cultural context.

Spring intensive courses offer an opportunity for students to focus exclusively on one topic of study for a short, dedicated block of time. In advance of the intensive course, students are given a reading list so they can prepare for class. During the two weeks of classes, students engage deeply with their professor and each other, and complete smaller assignments. A final project, such as a sermon or research paper, demonstrates competency in the course subject matter and is due later in the spring.

“The opportunity to write a paper after a lively two-week MTS course, with no other distractions for a whole six weeks, allowed me to colour outside the lines and plunge into topics I had long been curious about, gathering material from novel contemporary sources,” reflected Christa Van Deale, after taking Cavey’s course. “It became an adventure in independent study!“

“Both spring courses were transformative for spiritual growth and ministry aspirations,” shared student Kathryn Cressman. “Each course offered practical ways to implement what I have been studying for the last couple of years. I enjoyed meeting daily for rich conversation and was actually sad when the courses were over!”

Adjunct instructors enrich Grebel’s MTS program in many ways. “Each instructor brings their own expertise, teaching styles, passions, and ways of engaging with students,” said Bergen. “For example, because preaching is an embodied practice, Allan has students do vocal and physical exercises as part of the course, even on Zoom.” Over the years, Grebel has had several students from the Be in Christ denomination, in which Cavey is a key leader. “I hope that his participation in our program will strengthen the connections between the Be in Christ and Grebel’s MTS program,” added Bergen.

“What a privilege for me to be spending time learning together with such a diverse and interesting group of brothers and sisters,” noted Cavey, in the midst of the intensive two weeks. “I love the class environment, where professor and students can all learn and grow and weave together an intellectually and relationally engaging experience. Being purely online this year is a speed bump, but not a barrier, to the connection that can happen when learning together.” 

Student Jeff McCrea found it interesting to be taught by Bruxy who is actively engaged in a ministry context. Jeff enjoyed the “active class discussions around course material and current personal and professional issues related to ministry and mission. As with other course offerings, the instructor and the material forced me to consider my own position on real-life issues within a ministry setting.”

“Allan Rudy-Froese led us through an intensive, practical, two-week course on preaching,” added McCrea. “What we learned, we were immediately able to put into practice through discussion, written work, and physical exercise! This course has provided me with tools, particularly related to my approach in reading and interpreting the Bible, which will assist me not only in sermon preparation but in other course-work as well.”

The MTS program at Grebel and UWaterloo invites students from diverse backgrounds and Christian traditions to form a learning community to study the Bible, theology, and ministry. All full-time students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents receive full tuition scholarships. Courses are taught by full-time Grebel faculty members as well as guest instructors with a wide range of experiences and expertise.

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