What is Harvest Workers?

Harvest Workers is a brand new, practical, missional ministry leadership training program. Classes are all online and on-demand and taught by experienced, mission-minded ministers who are called to mentor and teach next generation ministry leaders.

Who is Harvest Workers for?

Anyone who is seeking to take steps to answer God’s call to greater Kingdom ministry for whom traditional seminary instruction is impractical due to financial, geographic, and/or time constraints. Students may be called to serve as contract pastors, church planters, or other congregational ministry positions.

What’s the idea behind the name?

In Matthew 9, Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”  We believe that the harvest is still abundant and we desperately need women and men to be sent out into the harvest.  But we also realize that the harvest workers we are praying for need training that is accessible, faithful, and practical.  Therefore, we are equipping those whom Lord calls for the work that lies ahead of them.

How does the online classroom work?

All classes are taken as independent study courses through a personal online classroom. Each student works at his or her own pace through each course. Students can login to his or her classroom from any internet connected device to progress through each course. Each class will consist of 16-20 hours of video lessons which are prerecorded by the instructor. The personal online classroom will guide each student step by step through the entire course: required readings, video lectures, research and writing assignments, projects and even exams! Students can also upload assignments (papers, presentations, videos, etc.) to the instructor through the online classroom.

What sets this online classroom apart from others?

The core of Harvest Workers that sets it apart from most other programs is that faculty lectures are all prerecorded videos which simultaneously increases efficiency and flexibility. Utilizing the concept of the flipped classroom, you will video record his or her class lectures just one time from the comfort of your own office. Lectures will be filmed in 30-minute episodes which students can watch whenever it is most convenient. When your actually spend time with a student in what we are calling “conference time,” you will have the chance to interact with him or her personally and respond to any questions or any areas that need additional clarification in a personal way. You’ll never have to give a lecture more than once, unless, of course, it is time to update the material! We believe that harnessing the power of technology in this manner allows us to be better stewards of both faculty and student time.

Besides online and on-demand course delivery, what makes this program unique?

We envision that every course in this program will be taught from a multiplication perspective that emphasizes evangelizing the lost, discipling the found, and equipping leaders to multiply. This philosophy of ministry is an essential building block of Harvest Workers’ DNA. Most seminary programs emphasize an academic pursuit of biblical and theological studies with traditional, pastor-centered ministry education. Harvest Workers, while providing a faithful foundation in bible and theology, will emphasize practical ministry leadership methods for the present and future church that are faithfully grounded in biblical practices of evangelism, discipleship, and equipping ministries for multiplication.

What classes will you offer?

The program is broken down into three parts: Foundational Courses, Practical Courses, and Capstone. In total, there are 13 required courses and a Ministry Apprenticeship. Foundational Courses will include Bible Study Methods, Old Testament, New Testament, Reformation & Lutheran Church History, and Lutheran Theological Foundations. Practical Courses will include Evangelism & Discipleship, Church Planting & Revitalization, Missional Leadership & Organization, Preaching, Worship, Youth & Children’s Ministry, and Care & Counseling. In addition to these seven Practical Courses, students will also be enrolled in a Ministry Apprenticeship that will run concurrently for the duration of the Practical Courses. The Capstone is called New Testament Theology of Mission.

Can I teach more than one course?

While we certainly welcome potential faculty to apply to teach as many courses as you might be interested in teaching, it is our hope that we will identify 12 qualified faculty to each only teach one course. This will give students broad exposure to a diverse teaching faculty and builds in capacity for the program to grow. Students can select any faculty of their choice to advise them for their Capstone, but that is our only anticipated opportunity to teach a second class.

Who will the teaching faculty be?

We hope you, for one! It is our vision that all classes will be taught by faculty who are currently serving or formerly have served in ministry with excellence and have specific experience in the field he or she is teaching. Each should hold at least a master’s degree. Most importantly, it is essential that every instructor loves Jesus and his church and is called to invest in raising up future ministry leaders.

Will I ever meet my students in real time?

Virtually, yes! Each course will require 4 (and no more than 8) hours of one-on-one video conference time with your students. While each instructor may use conference time differently, generally it will be a time for students to ask any questions and for you to gauge how well each student grasps the material and his or her ability to verbally articulate and discuss its application. We hope that this learning process will foster mentor relationships between faculty and students.

Is this a Lutheran program? Will all of the students and faculty be Lutheran?

Harvest Workers is being founded by the Texas District of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ and we intend to teach in a manner that is consistent with the LCMC Statement of Faith. Potential Faculty are being invited from across LCMC as well as a select few from other church bodies. Students from other Christian backgrounds are welcome to enroll. All students will be asked to adhere to a common Christian profession of faith as well as make a commitment to pursue an active life of faith as a disciple of Jesus through personal devotion and participation in a local congregation. We ask all students to respect the Lutheran theological perspective from which we teach. In return, we ask all faculty to respect students from other Christian theological traditions. Above all else, we believe that we exist to be a part of God’s Kingdom building activity in the world.

What about practical ministry preparation? How does an online program provide any hands-on learning?

Each student will be assigned to a local congregation and supervisor for a Ministry Apprenticeship. This will provide each student the opportunity to observe and practice ministry in a context and be mentored by a supervising pastor. We envision that each Practical Course in Mission and Ministry will include assignments for students to both observe and reflect in context, as well as to practice basic ministry skills.

What all should I include in developing a course?

We have already drafted course overviews for each class that outline what we hope each course will accomplish. If you would like to recommended changes to the overview or the expected demonstrated competencies, we are open to new ideas! Basically, we will be asking you to develop a course of 32-40 half hour lectures along with reading, writing, and project assignments and any exams that will help students to develop the expected competencies.

How about pay? What can I expect in terms of compensation?

Rest assured, you will be compensated both for course development in addition to stipends for each student who takes your class. While we don’t anticipate any teaching faculty getting rich from teaching, we are expecting to provide compensation in recognition of your time and devotion to training future ministry leaders. Each faculty member will be compensated for developing a course. Payment will be issued once the course is fully online and ready to enroll students. In addition, you will receive a teaching stipend for each student who has completed a course. Stipends will be paid out quarterly for all students who had completed your class in that quarter. Please contact us for compensation details.

Tell me more about these video lectures. Do I have to understand technology and edit videos?

We are not expecting all teaching faculty to be technologically advanced. We will edit, process, and upload your videos into your classroom portal for you. We will provide you with a complete set of equipment and instructions to connect to a Windows or Mac computer for recording your videos. You will need to be able to provide your own computer and develop an outline of notes on PowerPoint slides to accompany your lectures. The slides will be used on-screen and are essential for the learning process. The equipment we send you will help provide a consistent, high quality of video across all courses. You will receive a High Definition web cam to mount to your monitor or laptop, a lapel mic for better audio, a desktop light kit to set on either side of your computer for good lighting, a large capacity USB drive for storing your videos, and a USB hub to connect all of the equipment to your computer. You will also receive a PowerPoint template for you to use to ensure a uniform look across all courses. Finally, we will provide complete instructions on how to connect the equipment and to record the raw video of the lectures. We just ask that you ensure that each segment is at least 25 minutes but not more than 35 minutes in length. Once all videos have been recorded simply save them on the USB drive and ship it off to us for editing.

How long will each student take to complete a course?

That largely depends on the student. The program is designed for a student to learn at his or her own pace. Each course should consist of 16-20 hours of video lectures plus 4-8 hours of one-on-one conference time. Total “class time” (lectures + conferences) should fall between 20-24 hours per course. In addition, instructors should assign an additional 20-48 hours outside of class time for reading and other class assignments. In theory, a full-time student taking one class at a time could finish a course in a week or two. In practice, this is highly unlikely. Students may be enrolled in two or three classes simultaneously and will be speed limited by scheduling periodic conferences with instructors as well as contextual assignments that will take place in the Ministry Apprenticeship. It is more likely that students will complete courses in anywhere from 6 to 16 weeks.

What about the entire program? How long will students take to graduate?

While each student can learn at his or her own pace, there are speed limiters. First of all, a student may only be enrolled in three classes at a time. In addition, students must complete the 5 Foundational Courses in Bible and Theology and receive a positive endorsement and be placed in a Ministry Apprenticeship before proceeding to the 7 Practical Courses in Mission and Ministry. Ministry Apprenticeships with an approved supervisor will be required for at least 9 months and continue until the student has completed all Mission and Ministry courses. The final course is a capstone project taught by the instructor of the student’s choice. All that being said, it may be possible for a full-time student to complete the program in 12 months. We anticipate, however, that most students will take 18-24 months for program completion.

When is the program going to be online? When will I need to have my course ready by?

It is our hope that our first courses will come online during the 1st quarter of 2020 and that we will add a course at least every 2 months thereafter. We are prioritizing the first 5 Foundational Courses in Bible and Theology which must be completed first before students can begin taking the 7 Practical Courses in Mission and Ministry. If you will be teaching a Foundational Course, we will want you to begin working on it ASAP. If you will be teaching a Practical Course, we will want you to begin production by the Fall of 2020. All courses should be online and the program fully developed by the 2nd quarter of 2022.

What if I get really busy in my church, or take a vacation, get sick, or go on sabbatical?

We understand that teaching will be side work for all active pastors and that life happens. We will be asking all faculty to typically turn around assignments within a 10 day window to provide you significant flexibility. If you are going away on vacation or have a planned time of absence, please communicate it with the program director and any currently enrolled students. If you need extended leave of more than 4-weeks due to travel, serious illness or sabbatical, please let us know. We will likely make arrangements for a substitute teacher to administrate your class while you are away.

If I am selected to teach a class, how long am I expected to teach for?

Due to the initial investment in developing the classes, we are asking all teachers to make a 3-year commitment to teach that begins as soon as the course goes online. The commitment can be extended by mutual agreement and will also extend for any leave of absence of 4 weeks or more.

How will we grade students?

The vision for Harvest Workers is to equip students to minister with competency. Therefore, we have decided to ask instructors to measure competency. While we encourage you to use a 100-point grading scale for all assignments, we will be refraining from using letter grades. Students below a 70 would receive a grade of NC (Not Yet Competent), those with a 70-89 would receive a grade of C (Competent), and students with a 90 or above would receive a grade of CD (Competent with Distinction). Since the goal is competency, students with scores below a 70 will be asked to redo assignments one time to be able to demonstrate developed competency.

What is endorsement?

Endorsement is a faculty review of student progress after taking the first five Foundational Courses in Bible and Theology. This is our opportunity to reflect on a student’s readiness to proceed to the next step in the program. It is important that we ensure that each student is setup for success in his or her Ministry Apprenticeship and the rest of the program. If faculty identify areas of concern regarding a student’s readiness, they may recommend a conditional endorsement and the Academic Advisory Team will develop a supplemental plan to help the student address those concerns before continuing. If concerns rise to the point of faculty not recommending a student proceed in the program, then the student will be dismissed from the program entirely. It is important that we protect the integrity of the program by only advancing students who demonstrate a spiritual, emotional, ethical, and intellectual readiness for Ministry Apprenticeship. In other words, would you be willing to have this student intern at your church?

Is Harvest Workers accredited or seeking accreditation?

Our program does not ever aspire to be an institution of higher education. Rather Harvest Workers is a ministry preparation certificate program administered by the Texas District of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ. While we have no formal educational accreditation, we strive to offer seminary-level ministry preparation for those seeking to grow in their ministry leadership capacity and serve as contract pastors, church planters, or other specialized ministry leaders.

What about admissions requirements? Will all students be required to have a bachelor’s degree?

Not necessarily. While we will not require any degree, the program is expecting master’s level work. Applicants without a bachelor’s degree will need to demonstrate college-level competency in reading and writing. In addition, pastoral and other character references will help inform our admissions decisions.

When a student completes the program, can he or she be certified as a pastor?

While every church body has different certification standards, Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ requires a Master of Divinity degree or it’s equivalent. While our program certainly includes much of what is necessary to meet standards to be a certified pastor, additional education would be required. Any of our graduates who wish to be certified by LCMC will be invited to contact the LCMC Coordinator for Pastoral Ministry for more information about continuing his or her education through another seminary partner to fulfill all the Ministry Board’s requirements for certification. Graduates would, however, be eligible to serve as contract call pastors.

Is the program affordable for students?

The program is sponsored by LCMC Texas District who has underwritten the startup costs and is bearing most of the ongoing administrative burden to make this as affordable as possible. For students connected to a LCMC Texas congregation, each class will cost $250, which will be passed on to the instructor. For the entire program, we estimate tuition and fees to come to $3950. Other students will pay a slightly higher tuition of $300 per class ($250 to the instructor and $50 to LCMC Texas), with the program total at an estimated $4850. Students will pay as they go and can use any major credit or debit card to pay for the classes they are ready to take through our online course registration system. In addition to the tuition, students will be responsible for obtaining all required books for each class.

Can husbands and wives go through the program together?

We want to encourage spouses to go through the program together. We will discount one spouse’s tuition by 50% for every course enrolled in simultaneously. While both spouses will be expected to each complete assignments and assessments separately, conference time with instructors would be together. Upon satisfactory completion of the program, both spouses will receive a certificate. Faculty would receive a teaching stipend of $375 for a husband and wife team.

Will students ever have the opportunity to collaborate with one another?

One of the challenges of an online, on-demand ministry training program is the development of a learning community. While we can in no way guarantee students a connection with other students going through the same classes at the same time, we will do what we can to connect those students with one another if they have a desire to collaborate. In addition, we plan to host a special Winter Retreat in Concan, Texas annually, Friday night through Sunday afternoon the last weekend in January. Attendance for students and faculty is encouraged, but not required. While the retreat will be free for students and faculty to attend, travel to and from Concan, Texas will be the responsibility of the attendee.

More Questions?

Contact Program Director Bryce Formwalt at 512-942-7776 or bryce@harvestworkers.net with any questions you may have.