NEWTON, Kansas (Mennonite Mission Network) — Up to now, completing a full roster of Missional Discipleship Initiative's (MDI) online training took three years. After hearing that this multi-year commitment deterred potential trainees from signing on, Marvin Lorenzana, Mennonite Mission Network's Discipleship Initiative's director, knew it was time for a change.
This past year he's been developing a new format that will allow trainees to do in one year what once took several in this program sponsored by Mission Network since 2012. The first phase of the streamlined training will be launched this Sept. 1 and conclude by Thanksgiving. Those who wish to continue in further phases will complete phase 2 next January and phase 3 next May, Lorenzana said. The online training has helped dozens of pastoral and lay leaders gain tools for forming and multiplying missional disciples and congregations.
"This new paradigm is more compressed and offers a more powerful punch," Lorenzana said. "It will help participants who experience time crunches in their ministries accomplish the same things in less time."
While all the previous materials were quality, Lorenzana said, not all of them were essential. So now, rather than each phase having 20 modules, each will have six. In addition, MDI has also adopted Kajabi as the online classroom for participants.
"Kajabi provides more strategies for putting content out there, and the content is easier to interact with," Lorenzana said. "It gives us a web landing page and tools for creating an ongoing marketing pipeline that links our users to our other programs and communications."
Most importantly, Lorenzana said, the new paradigm and platform will allow him more time online to coach participants. He will record the content of the teaching sessions prior to the online interaction among the cohort group.
"This leaves a lot more freedom for us to share our reflections and responses about the material with each other, rather than using our entire time listening to a lecture," Lorezana said. "It gives me more leeway, too, in providing more coaching in response to participants' questions and challenges."
"Missional discipleship is an essential part of church life," said Sandy Miller, senior executive for Mission Network's Resourcing and Mobilization division. It isn't just meeting in Sunday school or small groups; it's about living a life following the One who gave his life for us. This one-year paradigm will allow more people to experience a new understanding of discipleship and live it out each day of the week."
To enroll in the new Level 1 MDI cycle, visit the MDI section on our website.