Imagine a young Kenyan graduating from Bible College and being called to pastor his first church.
Now imagine his denomination assigning him four different congregations to pastor- all at the same time. How could one man simultaneously shepherd and lead that many congregations? This question is the beginning of the story of the Multi-Church Pastor Institute.
Phil Morrison joined the faculty of Moffat College of Bible in 1992 and taught various pastoral ministry courses. The material was familiar and comfortable because he had been a pastor in the USA for fourteen years. However, when he would make applications of pastoral leadership principles, students often asked, “That would work if I had one church, but what can I do if I have four or five or eight churches?” Good question. It was apparent that the familiar and comfortable “one pastor- one church” model was not addressing the reality of what many students would face after graduation: multiple churches.
Phil looked for materials on the topic and found there was almost nothing that addressed the situation, so in 1998 he asked if he could teach a research course. He and a small group of students began to study the challenges and possible solutions for the multi-church pastor. They visited churches and pastors, searched for applicable materials, and interviewed church leaders to track down data and stories. The information they gathered was developed into a new course: The Multi-church Pastor. In a short while it became evident that pastoring multiple churches was a widespread reality and one course at Moffat College of Bible was not going to reach far enough to bring the help that was needed. Especially for pastors who would not be going to Bible College.
In 2002 Phil and his family returned to Pennsylvania for a one year home assignment. During that year, Phil wrote The Multi-Church Pastor, a manual for training pastors and their church elders to lead the church. The book was published in 2004 and as it found its way throughout Kenya (and beyond,) Phil began receiving requests to lead training seminars. At this time, he was chaplain to staff at Rift Valley Academy, but RVA had caught the vision for this unique training and Phil was encouraged to develop materials and lead seminars on a part time basis to get the ministry well established.
The Multi-Church Pastor Institute began in 2008 and Phil became the first director. In July 2010, the Morrisons left RVA and moved to Nairobi for Phil to begin full time ministry with the MCPI. The MCPI is affiliated with the Institute of African Realities (ISAR), a school of the Africa International University. The focus of the MCPI is un-trained and under-trained church leaders.
The Multi-Church Pastor has been translated into Kiswahili, French and Portuguese. Each of the men who served as translators also became involved as MCPI team members. The MCPI has additional materials and different seminar tracks with a growing group of trainers. Their philosophy is to encourage sustainability of the MCPI in the years to come and attendees are charged a nominal fee for materials and expenses. MCPI seminars have been held in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Nigeria and Zambia. Visit the website for more information. http://www.multichurchpastor.org