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Training Pastors Together

“Our church leaders sorely needed training, and we were asking God for a way to meet this need,” said Sam Arcaño, leader of the MB conference of churches in the Philippines. “Many of our pastors have no opportunity to go to Bible school or seminary. Many have other jobs so they can provide for their families, and they can’t leave them to attend formal training. Despite these limitations, they have responded to the call of God, and they serve as leaders in their churches.”

In 2018, Arcaño first encountered the course called Missional Leadership Training (see facing page for a brief description). After he completed the first two modules, he was immediately convinced that MLT was the answer to their prayers and could help provide the support and encouragement that pastors within his network really needed.

 “I became so convinced of the value of this course that I kind of volunteered myself to be a local trainer.”  

“I saw how effective the training was for leading us into a real grounding in the Scriptures, and at the same time developing a missional mindset for our leaders and churches,” said Arcaño. “I became so convinced of the value of this course that I kind of volunteered myself to be a local trainer.”

According to Doug Heidebrecht, who leads a team developing this unique non-formal training, the idea for MLT was born in Africa where churches were growing so fast and leaders desperately needed to be trained. “We received a request from Safari Mutabeshi, the MB church leader in Malawi,” said Heidebrecht. “Safari asked for help with training church leaders who had no access to biblical or ministry training in their context. So, we developed MLT, but it was in the Philippines that we actually first taught it.”

It was in 2018, in a place called Bayombong, that Regional Team Leader, Bob Davis, and ICOMB Liaison, Vic Wiens, facilitated the teaching of Module 1: “Knowing God” for thirty-five eager participants, including Arcaño. Heidebrecht returned in the fall of 2019 to teach Module 2: “Following Jesus.” After that, Arcaño realized the potential in MLT and committed himself to teaching it among his network of pastors and church planters.
“My first step was to visit my twin brother, Jonathan, in Palawan, another island in the Philippines,” said Arcaño. “He was also a pastor and was a part of a growing fellowship of churches and church leaders. I offered to teach the first module of MLT in 2019, and seven pastors showed up as the first participants.”

“It was a great start,” said Heidebrecht, “and we were excited about Sam’s keen leadership. That first group of participants was very enthusiastic in their response to the training, and they were eager for more. Unfortunately, COVID quickly brought a stop to Sam’s plans to teach Module 2.”

It wasn’t until the summer of 2021 that Sam was able to return to Palawan. When he did, he was thrilled to see that the enthusiasm of the church leaders had not died down. In fact, word had spread. “More than forty pastors and church leaders came to join my teaching of Module 2,” said Arcaño, “and afterward there was a request to hold another session for Module 1. I happily obliged, and about sixty new participants came to join for that training.”

One of the new participants told Arcaño: “Many of us have received some form of training before, but MLT is what we need. It gives us solid training that is based on what the Bible teaches.”

Arcaño gives praise to God for how local church leaders are being transformed through this training. He’s currently working on translating the modules into Tagalog, the local Filipino language. Most of all, he loves watching the eyes of pastors open as they experience the wealth and depth of the Bible embodied in each module. “It’s so encouraging to see them having their ‘aha’ moments,” he said, “and hearing comments like, ‘I have not seen it that way before.’”

“It’s so encouraging to see them having their ‘aha’ moments,” he said, “and hearing comments like, ‘I have not seen it that way before.’”

“Sam is currently back in Palawan teaching Modules 3, 4, and 5,” said Heidebrecht, who is encouraged by his co-worker’s sincere commitment to serving pastors. “He’s grateful for the opportunity to help these servants of God become more effective in their ministry. Teaching MLT has become a part of Sam’s ministry not only for the MB family of churches, but also for the wider body of Christ in the Philippines.”

What is MLT?

Missional Leadership Training (MLT) is an eighteen-module course that is being used to train local leaders to serve and equip the global church to live on mission. On behalf of the International Community of Mennonite Brethren (ICOMB), the training is being developed through a partnership between Multiply and the MB Seminary. Those who complete the course will receive recognition from the MB Seminary for Certificates in each of the three main areas of training: Discipleship Foundations, Ministry Equipping, and Leadership Development. MLT is currently being translated into ten languages!


Help train global church leaders by contributing to the costs of this unique training course. To give, go to

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