“We want to blow the doors off Kingswood Extended, so everyone understands, this could be for you if you want to be an effective lay leader in your church,” said Andrea Gunter, director of Kingswood Extended.
Are you a pastor who would benefit from pursuing higher education but, because of current responsibilities, are unable to commit to the cost and time restraints of attending classes on a campus? Do you have lay people in your church who would benefit from training to make them more effective in their ministries? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, Kingswood Extended is just the program you have been looking for.
Many people would benefit from pursuing higher education, but simply can’t because of time, money or distance. To alleviate this problem, Kingswood Extended was developed to provide off-campus ministry education for any individual who is looking to prepare for more effective ministry in the church or for those who are pursuing licensing and/or ordination.
Gunter thinks the benefit of this program to the church is going to be bigger than anyone could imagine. Kingswood Extended provides three levels of education: certificate, undergraduate and graduate. While remote undergraduate and graduate degrees have been around for a long time, the certificate level is where Gunter believes the church will see an explosion in effectiveness and benefits.
“When I talk with pastors, one of the greatest challenges they express is having a vision for their church with a mission and mandate that is so much greater than what they can do alone,” said Gunter.
“It is clear they can’t do it alone, they can’t lead it alone and they can’t build a budget to staff it,” said Gunter. “They are developing plans and strategies, but they are doing it in a vacuum of ministry leadership. They’re looking to move forward on the vision God has given them right now, and they need a ministry education option that provides them with tools to equip their laypeople — to lead while they are in the trenches leading.”
“They need education so practical it has immediate impact on the effectiveness of the lay minister in their position of influence. This is exactly what our certificate level is providing. We can help them build their leadership pipeline.”
Through the certificate level, Kingswood Extended has created a new delivery model through hybrid courses. These courses equip pastors to serve as mentors for their leadership team cohorts. Kingswood provides grading and feedback but gives pastors the opportunity to process the material with their team and contextualize it for their own ministry context.
Several churches are already using the hybrid model courses to empower and equip lay people. One church has a cohort of 10 students, and this group is poised to meet the requirements for licensing by the end of 2019. Another church has a goal for church planting but needs to develop leaders from within to send out. They are starting a cohort through the hybrid courses as well.
“When you consider that the role of leaders is to develop more leaders, the potential of this model is really uncapped,” Gunter said.
Since its launch in May 2018, Kingswood Extended has filled more than 400 classroom seats digitally. It is quickly gaining momentum, and the response has confirmed churches are looking for and benefiting from this model of education.
“It is exciting to see where we are headed,” said Gunter. “We want to get the word out. If churches and pastoral leadership teams grab hold of this and recognize this is a tool and a resource that empowers and equips them to lead more lay people to greater ministry effectiveness, at the end of the day, God and his mission and mandate for our global Church win.”