Purpose & Mission
Grace Church of DuPage is committed to providing rigorous and regular theological education for the whole church as an important element in Christian formation, as a means of equipping for service in church-based ministries, and as an aid in the pursuit of fruitful life and mission in the diverse spheres into which God calls us. Likewise, we feel a burden and responsibility, more specifically, to be engaged in the biblically rooted calling upon the local church to raise up leaders for ecclesially based ministry and mission. In the blessing and provision of the Lord, we are able to pursue both goals under the umbrella of the Mission Training Academy (MTA).
Ecclesial Ministry Training Tracks
For individuals with a distinct sense of calling to some form of ecclesially based ministry, the MTA offers fours formal training tracks: Pastoral Ministry Training, Women’s Ministry Training, Music Ministry Training, and the Missionary Preparation Program.
With the exception of the Missionary Preparation Program (the structure of and progress through which is more fluid), each of these tracks consists of a two year apprenticeships wherein individuals will engage in reading, writing, instruction and discussions, and guided practical church ministry in the life of Grace Church. The course of work for each of these three tracks is intentionally structured to provide a progressive engagement with the “tools of learning” in the specific ministry contexts of training (pastoral ministry, women’s ministry, music ministry).
An estimated time-commitment of 5–10 hours per week is expected for individuals in Women’s Ministry Training, and 15–20+ hours per week for those in Pastoral Ministry Training and Music Ministry Training. Individuals are accepted into these programs after a formal application process.
Lay Ministry Training
The core instruction involved in Lay Ministry Training (LMT) consists of the ten Core Seminars offered every two years by the Mission Training Academy (MTA). LMT offers three progressively intensive avenues of involvement in these seminars:
CORE SEMINAR ATTENDANCE
Since the Core Seminars are open to the whole church, anyone interested may pick and choose seminars to attend at any time. This à la carte method of engagement provides a way of stimulating and engaging biblical, theological, and ecclesiological/missional thought for those who feel a burden to dig deeper or are simply curious to learn more about the Christian faith, yet who do not desire or are unable to commit to a full course of study. There are no formal commitments for general attendance at any of the Core Seminars, however suggestions of resources are available upon request for further engagement with the material covered (e.g., suggested reading lists, participation in Reading & Study Groups).
READING & STUDY GROUPS
Reading & Study Groups: The MTA facilitates the formation, promotion, and gathering of groups committed to reading works and/or engaging in discussion on a variety of topics. First, groups can be formed to read and engage with materials that correspond to each of the MTA Core Seminars (these works may be selected from the syllabus provided in the Certificate Track of the LMT). Second, Bible Survey Reading & Study Groups may be formed, wherein groups commit to surveying and discussing the whole of Scripture over the course of a year. Third, Reading & Study Groups on various topics (literature and arts, sociology, political science, biography, etc.) can be formed through and promoted by the MTA.
THE LMT CERTIFICATE TRACK
Those who have some definite sense of calling for a guided church ministry training experience (whether already involved in some kind of practical Christian ecclesial ministry, or aspiring to such a role), or those who simply prefer a more structured learning environment, may enroll in the LMT Certificate Track. This track consists of attendance at all ten MTA Core Seminars, preferably within a single two-year cycle, coupled with regular coursework pursued in the context of a guided cohort that will meet regularly over the course of two years.
Opportunities for the General Public
Throughout the year, the MTA offers various opportunities for the church as a whole for biblical, theological, historical, cultural, and ministerial instruction in the context of thoughtful and intentional togetherness. Core Seminars are required for the four formal training tracks, but they are also open to and encouraged for the church as a whole and the general public. Seminars typically provide six hours of engagement, divided over a Friday and Saturday (one two-hour session on Friday; one four-hour session on Saturday). Over a two-year cycle, the MTA offers a series of ten Core Seminars as the backbone of all our training efforts.
Fundamentals of the Faith: An Introduction to Christian Theology
Explorations in Church History
Reading the Bible Workshop (OT)
Male and Female He Created Them: Pursuing Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
The Doctrine of Vocation: The Christian’s Calling in the Drama of God
Christian Missions: God’s Mission and Ours
The Cure of Souls: Care, Counsel, and New Creational Life
Reading the Bible Workshop (NT)
Church and Culture | Church as Culture
Liturgy for the Life of the World: Biblical Worship and Sunday Morning