MTC Welcomes New Director

23.01.2023 | News & Events

Mission Training Center has a new director! Meet Rev. Jonathan Priest – a former NOW District pastor who recently relocated to San Francisco. Priest took the reins for MTC starting Jan. 1, 2023.

“I believe MTC is the perfect program and platform for our whole church body to strengthen our Synod’s missional ‘backbone’ – that is its members. We have rightly invested through our universities and seminaries to train up ‘officers’; by that I mean pastors, teachers, DCEs, DCOs, and deaconesses. And we do a great job! On the other hand, there is a poem by Kipling that says, ‘the backbone of the army is the enlisted man.’ MTC should be the go-to platform and program for our Synod to invest in the men and women of our congregations. We need to build the bench of leaders in every congregation.”

Priest knows there are some big tasks ahead of him, but he is energized by the opportunity. In his experiences as a parish pastor, he saw the value of lifting leaders up and encouraging them to develop their gifts. This is exactly the kind of training MTC offers. “My enthusiasm probably comes across as a little over the top, but the most joyful times in my ministry were when we added someone to the bench of leaders in our congregation,” he said. “That happened because members were able to recognize their gifts, develop them into skills through training, and focus them on specific projects for witness, fellowship, and service to one another and to all as they were able. So being named director is a gift to me personally because I get to help congregations grow through training to share the Gospel. I pray that my own experience and skillset, that has been developed by God over the last 20+ years, will be a gift to them as well.”

NOW District Director of Ministry Leadership Dust Kunkel, who was part of the selection team, is excited to see what the future of MTC, with Priest at the helm, looks like. “They say, ‘a rising tide lifts all boats,’ and I believe that is exactly what Mission Training Center exists to do. Over the last few decades, we have seen numerous leaders grow through MTC and then go on to become ordained pastors in the LCMS. I can’t wait to see how Jonathan helps MTC take the next steps in ‘just in time’ delivery of training for all our leaders on the ground!”