Mapping the Way Forward


By Barry Parker, Rector

Posted on May 13, 2015

Even in this age of GPS way-finding with our smartphones and now even through our watches – a map is still at the center of it all.

So too for the Church. In this new, challenging, and variable spiritual landscape, it is even more crucial to ensure we have our bearings to head in the right direction. Hence, leadership discernment and formation requires mapping. For St. Paul’s to plan our way in our ongoing ministry of raising, training and sending leaders for this and the future of the Church and our Country requires a MAP.

For generations, St. Paul’s Bloor Street has been a ‘leadership incubator,’ training some of the finest Christian leaders in the land. We are committed to continue that legacy by developing and providing a strategic training ministry to help raise up Christian leaders, both in the workplace and the Church.

The Ministry Apprenticeship Program or MAP, is a cornerstone of our Above and Beyond campaign. Modelled on effective and experienced internship programs at large Anglican churches in London, England, MAP will allow us to focus more intentionally on those who respond to God’s call on their lives by seeking to learn what is their leadership potential and ministry.

MAP has been part of my vision at St. Paul's for over 15 years. I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of intentionally investing in future leaders. The most effective aspect and incredible joy of my 18 years of ministry here at St. Paul’s has been the privilege of mentoring and sending the most amazing leaders into the Church and the world.

MAP will be a one-year formation process providing learning opportunities for participants to explore their personal call and serve with our ministry team while continuing to work or study part-time. It is an alternative to straight academic study, a ‘learning through the church’ based model for achieving experience in Christian ministry. It will be appropriate for someone in the workplace who wants to grow in their ministry knowledge and experience. It will also be very helpful for discerning ordained ministry before entering seminary.

Grounded in mentorship, prayer, biblical study, service and community, MAP will provide an opportunity for those who are attracted to ministry and want to find out more in a realistic and constructive manner. Mentoring for discernment is the key to MAP, and the focus will be on formation, reflection, discernment, wisdom and Spiritual gifts.

To pilot MAP we will need a dedicated staff person to assist in developing, implementing and coordinating this program. We will tap into our existing ministry team in a mentoring and leadership capacity, hosting guest speakers, branding, and building resources for candidates to facilitate their journey to discern God’s calling in their life.

A map is so helpful when on a journey. MAP at St. Paul’s will assist us as we continue our journey of assisting in the discernment and formation of the next generation of Christian leaders.

Read more about Above and Beyond