The Ministry Institute of Christ the Servant is a group dedicated to serving and forming those that work in ministry. Recently, I had the opportunity to ask Brandon Harvey, the founder and director, a few questions about the work that they do. Brandon is a husband and father. He has served the Church as a Director of Religious Education, Director of Youth Ministry, Evangelization Director, Instituted Acolyte, Professor, Deacon Formation Instructor, Catechist, Speaker and Theological Consultant.
What compelled you to start this institute?
Many things played a part: the discerned will of God, the life and writings of Benedict XVI, the experience of parish life in the Midwest, the expressed needs of ministry leaders, deacons and religious.
Perhaps two unique inspirations were the experience of ministry leaders leaving their posts and the reality of ministry being done possibly without college training. Each year I experience those that I went to school with or have worked with dropping out of ministry. They leave for higher paying positions elsewhere. The burden of student loans, among other things, was too much for the salary they were receiving. I once belonged to a dynamic parish with more than a dozen theology graduates from either Benedictine College or Franciscan University of Steubenville. None of them work in ministry today. I became convinced that those working in servant leadership, like ministry, should not be expected to take on the same debt.
After watching a Ted Talk by Sir Ken Robinson dealing with schools killing creativity, it launched a cultural change within me and those around me. We began to realize that the university experience is not for everyone. There are plenty of people that work in ministry today that either have no theology/ministry degree or a degree in another field. What more can we do to help them? What more can we do to offer adequate formation that will empower them without pressuring them to go back to school if that is not a possibility? These questions helped form the ideas behind the institute.
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