Faith Covenant Ministries trains leaders as part of a multi-generational, multi-cultural community. Michael and his dad planted the ministry together in 2005 with a vision to create a ministry that would birth new churches, re-start dying churches and train the next generation of leaders.
At first the church met in a hotel, people’s houses, and now finds its home in the Family Vision Library. Each Sunday morning, 30-40 people gather to worship and learn more about Jesus.
“Growth has been slow, and it would be easy to look at the absence of numerical growth and become very discouraged, and a lot of church planters become very discouraged,” Michael said. “But, if you plant the seeds in the ground, by the time you see a little sprout, there is a root system that has developed underground that you can’t see that supports what you can see above.”
Through consulting, mentoring and discipling, Michael seeks to equip everyone in his congregation to increase their leadership capacity. Each month, Michael invites aspiring leaders to meet together to help them learn by watching and then doing the tasks expected of a pastor. The small group then experiences events, such as a hospital visit, together to learn the kinds of things a pastor would do and say, as well as ways to support the family.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are leaders,” Michael said. “You have to train, develop and give opportunities to try things and give opportunities to fail in a safe place.”
The church also incorporates Bible study discipleship triads to multiply leaders. Each group meets for about a year, and each person in the group has the opportunity to be the leader. At the end of the year, group members are equipped to start their own group and repeat the process.
As Michael helps others grow in leadership, he’s also expanding his own abilities. Ten years after co-founding Faith Covenant Ministries, the Holy Spirit renewed Michael’s desire to attend Asbury Theological Seminary. He and his family visited the Seminary.
“Five minutes into the tour, I’m weeping uncontrollably because the presence of God was so much upon me,” Michael said.
He started his M.Div. in 2015 and a year later added the M.A. in Leadership with the hybrid degree option. The hybrid program requires 32 hours in residence for the M.Div. degree, but Michael has enjoyed the experience so much that he’s taken more classes on campus.
“There are several schools now that have an M.Div. or masters program completely online and students don’t have physical interaction with classmates or instructors,” Michael said. “I like the hybrid method because in a lot of respects I don’t feel like I’m an online Asbury Seminary student. I get the Asbury experience of connecting with my classmates and professors.”
Michael completed his M.A. in Leadership in 2018 and expects to complete his M.Div. in 2020. He and his wife Tara live in the St. Louis area and have five children.
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