Lincoln (Ill.) Christian University and the Merold Institute of Ministry at Harvester Christian Church in St. Charles, Mo., recently announced they will partner to form a regional training center for church leaders starting in January 2022.
The partnership will enhance the work already being done by the Merold Institute of Ministry, founded six years ago primarily to help mold Harvester’s key volunteers and existing and incoming staff by providing biblical and theological training lacking in ministry workers who were unable to attend Bible college or seminary. The institute—named for Harvester’s former senior minister Ben Merold—also has trained workers for area churches. When we wrote about the Merold Institute in 2019, it was already partnering in a limited way with LCU and St. Louis Christian College.
The plan is to expand the Merold Institute’s offerings with fully accredited educational courses while also expanding access in the St. Louis area to Lincoln’s placement and church development services. The partnership will be based at Harvester’s St. Charles campus, and will focus on the following activities:
• creating a “ministry residency program” where Lincoln Christian Seminary students can earn credit toward a master’s degree while working with mentors on the Harvester staff and learning practical ministry skills.
• offering LCS courses on-site.
• expanding non-credit training programs for volunteer leaders from area churches, ranging from one-day seminars and workshops to certificate programs.
• creating advanced ministry training for cohorts of lead ministers or groups of specialized staff.
“This unique endeavor utilizes the strengths of the local church and the seminary to equip church leaders with both relevant experience and theological foundations,” said Don Sanders, director of the Merold Institute. “Together we will offer what neither can offer separately: leadership development for every level of church leader in every educational context.”