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God at Work: Mission Training Center

Mission Training Center (MTC) has a new director! Rev. Jonathan Priest started in his new role on Jan. 2, 2023. “I'm excited to enter into this joint partnership between three districts and Concordia University Irvine to help church members focus their passion for mission and develop their gifts,” Priest said. “I believe MTC is the perfect program and platform for our whole church body to strengthen our Synod's missional ‘backbone’ – that is members. MTC should be the go-to platform and program for our Synod to invest in the men and women of our congregations.”

Priest knows there are some big tasks ahead of him, but he is energized by the opportunity. In his past congregations in Brooklyn, New York and Seattle, Washington, he saw the value of lifting leaders up and encouraging them to develop their gifts. And this is exactly the kind of training MTC offers.

MTC is a robust lay leadership training platform that helps develop women and men for mission with online opportunities. Courses cover a range of topics (see the list here). MTC is a close, beneficial partnership between the West Coast LCMS Districts (California-Nevada-Hawaii, Northwest, and PSD) and Concordia University Irvine (CUI). The reality is that MTC cannot exist without the collaborative effort of these partners.

“The process of working with the other two West Coast district mission executives to identify the next MTC director was collaborative and strengthening to our common goals,” said NOW District Director of Ministry Leadership Dust Kunkel, who was part of the selection team. “We are in a unique situation on the West Coast, and we needed to find just the right director who understands the needs of our ministries on the ground.”

Rev. Priest said, “The most joyful times in my ministry were when we added someone to the bench of leaders in our congregation. That happened because members were able to recognize their gifts, develop them into skills through training, and focus them on specific projects for witness, fellowship, and service to one another and to all as they were able. So being named director is a gift to me personally because I get to help congregations grow through training to share the Gospel.”

We praise God for how He has gifted Rev. Priest, for the gift of Mission Training Center, and for how He is at work raising up leaders for His mission!


Enable more stories of transformed lives through Jesus

Untold thousands are still in darkness, lost like “sheep that have gone astray”. But this is exactly the mission our Lord has created His Church for – reaching the lost for Jesus’ sake in as many ways as necessary. This is the purpose for which our 300 churches and 150 schools were founded in their many contexts. And “the fields are ripe for the harvest” right now!

Your gifts are critical and enable us to continue and expand our shared work together, fulfilling the PSD mission of effectively resourcing congregations and schools for transforming lives and making the Great Commission REAL!


Share Your Story

We love sharing the work God is doing in our district and would love to share what He is doing in your ministry!


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