In 2008, after nearly a decade of preparation, pastors from the Owen Sound Association launched the Lay Pastors’ Training Program (LPTP) to equip people for ministry who weren’t able to attend seminary full-time, and to provide pastoral leadership to churches that were unable to support full-time pastors. The program thrived and this year they helped launch a second campus of the Program in Montreal. Earlier this fall, a group of five students began the two-year training course at Westmount Baptist Church in downtown Montreal. Teachers in the fall semester were Dr. David Smith and Rev. Willard Warnock.
While all types of students are welcome, the primary intent of LPTP is to prepare members of CBOQ churches for ministry service in bi-vocational or associate settings. Dozens of students have completed the program or are currently enrolled, and many are now involved in ministry commitments in CBOQ churches.
The overall format of LPTP is best described by the number two: it is a two year course, with two semesters each year, two teaching weekends per semester, and two courses taught on each of those two weekends. Though the Lay Pastors program is completely staffed by volunteers, there is a cost to the students. The costs, however, both those of time for classes and assignments and those of tuition, are kept to a minimum to make the program accessible to people who may already be working full-time.
From the beginning, the hope was that LPTP would be portable, and could be made available in a variety of locations within the boundaries of CBOQ. As a volunteer organization, this portability would depend on having a cohort of at least five students and the availability of CBOQ-credentialed pastors who would teach part of a defined curriculum at a location near them.
The first LPTP campus, whose staff and students number 11, continues to meet at the Westview Baptist Church in London. (Five of these students are in their second year and four are in their first year.) With the Montreal campus now in operation, despite the loss of two of the original five students to unexpected conflicts, each province within CBOQ now has a school of its own. The expansion to two locations represents the fulfillment of a long-held dream, and is a tremendous encouragement to everyone involved with the program. It is remarkable what local Baptist Associations can do when they band together.
There’s still room to grow. LPTP is open to further expansion wherever a cohort of five students can be assured, along with capable local instructors.
For more information, visit the LPTP website.