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A Time Traveler’s Reflection – Time Sian

by ervte

Colin Buchanan felt he had traveled through time when he attended a recent MTS information session at the Engadine Anglican Church in south Sydney…

I traveled during the recent Partnership Night of our church’s Ministry Training Strategy (MTS). Let me set the tone…

It is a thrill for the Engadin Anglican Church to support four MTS students. It provides a foretaste of what lies ahead and lays a good foundation for their future ministry, whatever form it may take. MTS allows those considering full-time ministry to do a two-year “work experience” internship.

Over the years, Engadine and Heathcote Anglican have supported many of our members as they progressed into full-time Christian service. Over 18 months ago, Samantha Begg and Tim Griffith embarked on their MTS adventure. Late last year, Ben Warren and Alec De Gennaro decided to do the same.A Time Traveler's Reflection - Time Sian

It is precious when the local church comes together, prays, supports, and directs. I’ve known Sam and Tim for most of their lives. I’ve seen Ben and Alec play the drums, see the youth emerge, play their part, discover, and use their gifts of leadership and preaching.

Colonel Marshall, right, passes the golden baton to, from left, Tim Griffiths, Michael Dodd, and James Warren.

Much of the MTS message happens at the “front end” – encouraging us to consider MTS for ourselves. The Partnership Night was different. This was a chance to hear about our friends’ experiences halfway through the stream. And that’s where time travel happened for me.

I could rewind to when Sam returned from a student exchange in Hong Kong in 2017, braver, more confident, and radiant with the experience of seeing Jesus walk through it with her. Fast forward to 2019, when she shared her decision to move to ANU (Australian National University) in Canberra for mentoring in ministry with AFES (the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students). And here she is, sharing what she learned about people, programs, and herself in college life.

They have a bit of a Paul and Timothy thing going on.

Then it’s Alec’s turn: “Over the past six months, I’ve seen my Church family invest in my growth. Sometimes it was quite direct. But I want to show them that I have invested too.” He speaks with honesty and conviction. What he says and how he says it proves how he grows. I fast forward and imagine the journey ahead. Dan Bishop, our youth minister, did MTS at Jannali Anglican. Now he is guiding Alec.

It didn’t take long for us to get used to Tim being part of the ministry team. Tim is a year later on the same road at Engadin. As he sits next to his trainer, our predecessor Michael Dodd, another MTS alumnus, you can see their rapport and respect. They have a bit of a Paul and Timothy thing going on.

And am. He was measured, thought through, and motivated. He has been at the UNSW (University of NSW) Uni church for the past six months, and I suspect that as much as we miss him in Engadine, they are grateful for his presence. He tells of a friend who became a Christian as a student and the encouragement to see growth in others. He does some time travel, lets the years roll back and forth, and shows him what God is up to.

Suddenly, time travel kicks up a gear. MTS National Director Ben Pfahlert explains that as a depiction of the MTS model, graduates are given a blue baton. They run the race; they pass the baton to those who follow. It is inscribed with 2 Timothy 2:2 – “And the things which you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust them to trustworthy men who will also be qualified to teach others.” Tonight there is a special presentation – the golden baton. This is for someone who has trained an MTS student who, over time, has trained another MTS student who has gone on to teach another MTS student. A Gospel Grandfather, a Ministry Multiplier!

He does some time travel, lets the years roll back and forth, and shows him what God is up to.

The recipient is MTS architect, tough and visionary Colonel Marshall. (He’s a great-grandfather of MTS anyway!) Col started the evening by sharing with us from Philippians 1. He reminded us that in Christ, we all share a partnership in the grace and work of the gospel. He told us how we partner with our MTS students through prayer, financial support, and fighting with them for the gospel’s truth. He helped us see the four young people before we jumped off, jumped in, and called for us to join them in a unique and precious partnership.

Col’s golden baton achievement gives us decades to ponder, to play back and forth in our minds. But seeing our friends in the middle of their MTS adventures makes it all very real, very personal, very now. MTS is about responding to and announcing the calling of Christ. Jesus said, “Follow me.” what an opportunity, a joy, and a privilege.

But how about one last trip through time? Imagine decades have passed. Sam, Tim, Alec, and Ben replace Colonel Marshall. They have returned to Engadine, their old home church. And, as Col did all those years ago, they read Paul’s words in Philippians 1. “I thank my God every time I think of you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy for your partnership in the gospel from day one until now…” And maybe one or two there will think back to an MTS Partnership meeting on a cold winter evening in 2022.. .”

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