Utah is a different. The culture is different. Ministry is different. Leading in a Utah ministry, among a fairly unreached people, is probably more like doing ministry in a foreign country than it might be in other states. Pastors in Utah are missionaries.
Missionaries, pastors, and church planters have to be equipped in two areas to serve well in Utah. They need solid theological training and experience (because this place is a front-line area) and they need cultural understanding. A weak spot in the first area means struggles with correct biblical teaching, potentially jeopardizing the flock with the many heresies found here. A weakness in the second area means cultural ineffectiveness. Using the wrong words or acting in certain ways at the wrong time can alienate the minister from the people he's trying to reach with the gospel.
What typically happens is a minister or pastor is trained up in seminary (somewhere else) and gains ministry experience in a totally different culture. Then he comes here--equipped in theological skill but totally lacking in cultural awareness. So he needs to spend two to five years just trying to learn and understand the language. On the other side, a local guy is called into ministry with a solid cultural understanding but lacks the theological skill and ministry tools to be really effective for the Kingdom. So this guy needs to find available training that will allow him to remain in Utah but sharpen the saw.
I stand ready to help both kinds of called ministers. We want to see the Kingdom advanced in Utah so Redeeming Life Church prays that trained, skilled, and mature ministers will come to Utah. We're ready to do what we can to help them catch up culturally. We are also seeking to raise up indigenous pastors, missionaries, and church planters. This will require resources for theological training.
Soon I will be working with a couple of those trained guys who "are not from around here." But I am also working with a couple men in the latter category. They get Utah. They've been doing ministry in Utah for a while. One was born and raised in the Salt Lake Valley. They're reading books. They're being challenged by me and other pastors. They presently serve as pastors and interns. And now they are enrolling in Gateway Seminary's Contextual Leadership Development program (or CLD). This program consists of 8 solid courses in theology and ministry, taught by local pastors with masters and doctorate degrees in the fields they teach. It's a great program for training up local pastors.
These guys--and others like them--are raising outside support just to serve in SLC. They take on flexible jobs to they can serve bi-vocationally. They make big sacrifices. For that reason, I would like to offer some scholarships for classes and books. I need a little help training up the next wave of indigenous pastors and planters in Utah.
The CLD courses are $150 each. Typically, a student takes two classes a semester and books can run around $100.
Might God be calling you to partner with me to train up missionaries who are already serving in Utah? If so, you can send a check to "Redeeming Life Church" with "Pastoral Development" in the memo line to 901 Nocturne Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah 84116. Another option is to give on-line. We do not have a specific drop down option for this, but if you give and would like your funds to be directed toward pastoral development, please contact me and let me know.
I am so grateful for all God is doing in Utah. He's raising up local leaders. And I'm thankful for any support you can give to help me get these guys equipped for this challenging front-line work.
For the Kingdom!
Pastor Bryan Catherman