Isaac Walters is more than halfway through a METRO MTS apprenticeship at Tuggeranong Presbyterian Church and so far, he’s enjoyed every minute.
A METRO MTS Apprenticeship is a subset of the MTS model that stands for Ministry Equipping Training and Recruitment Organisation (METRO), within the Presbyterian Church that sponsors suitable people into ministry training apprenticeships.
Isaac admits that while he grew up in a Christian household, he wasn’t always as grateful for that as he could have been.
“Over the years I’ve become much more grateful for my Christian upbringing. But there were a few years there where I actually wasn’t very grateful for my parents in particular, but things are a lot better now… From a very young age, I believed the Gospel. I was as young as six years old when I was wrestling through life after we die and what that means and where we go,” he shared.
“My parents pointed me to Jesus and told me if you put your faith in him, you can be saved. During high school I fell away from that in practice, and I convinced myself that it was okay to do some things that actually weren’t right. Then in Year 12 I had a mate who had graduated from school the previous year and he began working at the church right next to my school. He began a Monday morning Bible study group with me and four of my really close mates. This was a massive turning point for me.” That mate was Josh Ward who is also now an MTS Apprentice!
Isaac’s turning point was sitting down to read through God’s Word with a slightly older brother in Christ. They shared life, and now they live together too! It was through this process that Isaac was able to take his faith seriously, repent and believe in Jesus as Lord. All of which he gets to help others do now in his MTS Apprenticeship.
Conversations to METRO MTS
When Isaac decided to serve more in his church, he spoke to his pastors and asked what else he could be doing. During the conversation, undertaking an apprenticeship was brought up and while his church hadn’t had any apprentices for a long time, it was something that everyone was willing to take on. Isaac decided to take up the opportunity that was offered to him, as he wanted to work out if ministry was the right path for him in the long run.
“I prayed a lot, and I knew that a part of me really wanted to go to uni, but I also thought actually this is a really good way to work out if ministry is something for me in the long run. I knew that God could open and close the doors as well, so I prayed and said ‘I’m going to choose to do MTS’ and if this isn’t it, please get in the way. The opposite happened and the door was wide open,” Isaac said.
Isaac’s current responsibilities include working in the youth ministry at his church and being a part of the music team.
“Week to week I always have a catch up with one of the two pastors which involves time in the Word and sometimes looking at things like the Westminster Confession and doctrine along with talking through any questions I have. There’s been a bit of observation – going along with pastors for pastoral catch ups off the back of funerals or other ministry events,” Isaac shared.
“There’s always youth prep each week as well, so preparing the Bible studies for youth and whatever else we need to do for that. I’m getting a lot more involved on Sundays; they’ve got me to preach a few times and do the Bible reading. There’s been some other things as well like organising church youth events and things like that. We’ve been trying to do one each semester, which has been really cool. There was also a Canberra wide youth event recently that I helped organise.”
Training the next generation
But one of Isaac’s favourite ministries is running a Bible study small group with a group of Year 10 boys at his house once a week.
“This year we kicked off a Monday morning small group. We regularly get around nine Year 10 boys around to my place before school. My housemates and I cook up some bacon and eggs and read the Word which has been going really well. It’s been slow going but really well. It’s encouraging to see where a few of them are at and I’m thinking about how to do similar ministries for other guys who aren’t in that age group,” Isaac explained.
Theological study in practice
While undertaking his apprenticeship with METRO MTS, Isaac is also studying the Timothy Partnership Certificate. The Timothy Partnership Certificate is a collaboration between Presbyterian Youth NSW and Christ College, offering accredited certificate level study through the Australian College of Theology. Isaac expressed how great it is to study alongside the apprenticeship as it makes you stop to consider various convictions and implications of the way that we do things.
“I have been blessed particularly by being able to think through some really important questions that are relevant for ministry. Recently I had to write an essay on a particular passage in the Bible and just to be able to spend that much time in the passage was really helpful. As part of this assessment, we were asked to compare the content of a sermon and the content of a commentary and discuss the differences and their varying levels of helpfulness.” Isaac shared.
When asked why others should consider an apprenticeship and study as well, Isaac says this. “I think it’s a really great way to test out your competencies, but also your conviction and your character. It is a really good way to see whether this is for you or not,” he says. “It’s okay to come to the conclusion that no, this isn’t for me. But to do study at the same time, I would recommend it because it helps give you the grounding for why you do what you do and helps you think deeply through some questions that you may have to think about in your apprenticeship.”
Next steps in ministry
Issac acknowledges that he’s probably one of the younger METRO MTS Apprentices as a result of his jump into ministry shortly after high school.
“I’m kind of thinking through this and at this stage I’m pretty keen on ministry long term but I’ve been thinking about uni as the next step in the road to do a short helpful degree and work for a few years before I go to Bible college. I feel like uni is a great mission field. I’m also keen to hang around Canberra for now, rather than move away for Bible college right now,” he shares.