Equipping Staff to Thrive in Ministry
Feb 24, 2022 | 4 min read | Stephanie Rogers
Snow fell on the hills last month as a group of staff gathered once again at our conference center in the Czech Republic. It was so good to be back together! Every January, staff in their first and second year of service with Josiah Venture gather for a week of training. This “Winter Academy” was a significant week for our staff to get equipped as well as make connections with staff serving in other countries. And it snowed off and on all week, making it truly feel like a winter experience!
Before they arrive, they go through our new e-learning platform to begin exploring key topics and materials that are core to who JV is. This allows the in-person portion to be student focused with facilitated conversations, interactive learning, and practical workshops. The goal is for new staff to return to their local context better equipped to make disciples, serve the Church, and come alongside youth leaders—all from a place of abiding in Christ. The sessions cover the path of a disciple, ministry coaching, phases of ministry, self-leadership, and putting into practice JV discipleship materials. It was a joy for me to get to co-facilitate the first year staff experience, and I was so inspired by their passion for what God has invited them into.
This year, 45 staff from 10 countries gathered in person, and they were excited to be together. Many of them have joined since Covid started two years ago and, therefore, have not had a chance to connect with other JV staff or be on-site for training. A highlight from this year’s Academy were two nights of worship, one led by a local Czech church and a second by Academy participants. One moment that brought a smile to my face was walking into the dining hall and hearing all the chatter as people were playing games and enjoying further conversation after dinner. It was clear that everyone was truly soaking up this time and had been hungry for connection.
It is always good to hear directly from participants too! Suela serves with her family in Albania and graduated from Winter Academy this year. She said, “My favorite session was learning about the five Ministry Phases (Preparation, Foundation, Ministry Training, Expansion, and Multiplication). It was good to see and understand how powerful these phases are and how important it is to have a healthy team and ministry that brings multiplication of new leaders." A first year staff member from the Czech Republic, Henryk, said, “Through learning, interacting, discussion, and the try-it-yourself approach, I was able to learn more than I've ever learned at any other Christian conference or event. I felt great in this dynamic community of missionaries and I'm encouraged to be used by God more than ever before.” Ellie, who also graduated this year and serves in Poland, said, "I am walking away from Winter Academy with a much clearer picture of how a healthy ministry grows, how to challenge myself and others in leadership, and how to ask powerful questions when coaching someone.”
The Winter Academy is just one part of an overall strategy of staff learning and development. We desire to offer the right training for our staff at the moment they need it in order to be best prepared for their current and future ministry. There is also year-round training happening through master classes and intensives that cover topics such as self-leadership, theology, and ministry coaching. It is an exciting time for Josiah Venture to be expanding the ways in which we equip and empower our staff.
We are so thankful for the incredible new people God has brought to serve with Josiah Venture. The harvest is plentiful and he continues to send out workers into Central and Eastern Europe to equip young people to fulfill Christ’s commission in the local church.
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