By Ethan Myers
Do you feel a calling to be a church leader, helping bring others closer to Christ? Would you like to learn how to minister to others effectively? These are the first questions that one should ask themselves when considering if the STEP program is a right fit for them. These are the same questions I asked myself. STEP was mentioned to me, through church leadership, as a learning opportunity to help me grow in various areas of ministry. Our church has not had anyone participate in the STEP program previously, but we heard good reports from others who were in the program. I recognized God’s calling on my life and after much prayer, I decided to join STEP.
There is much work involved for students of the STEP program. There are various homework assignments that need to be completed each month working remotely from home and/or in other sites like church and community buildings. In addition, there is also a monthly full-day class meeting that takes place at the LMC (Lancaster Mennonite Conference) headquarters in Lancaster County, which is about an hour-and-a-half drive for me. However, the work you put into this program is truly life-giving. The effort I put into the STEP program contributed to encouraging me to be a better spouse, parent, friend, leader, and follower of Christ. The workload was not always easy, but it was rewarding.
For me, the STEP program’s value begins when each student is placed in a cohort, to walk in life together for the three-year duration of studies. The value of this group went far beyond talking through homework assignments. We shared the hardships and blessings that we experienced. We prayed with one another and were invested in the lives of each other from a ministry standpoint and one another’s personal lives. The conversations that we had with one another during our monthly Saturday class meetings were as meaningful as the homework assignments that we completed. Learning from one another with our different experiences was beneficial to us all.
My time overall with STEP was a great experience. The workload was trying at times, but I am incredibly thankful that I had this experience. The instructors were great throughout the program, and I believe this program truly is focused on growing leaders that God has called. Matthew 6:33 is a favorite verse of mine and one that continued to call out to me through my time in STEP. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” In the times when I felt overwhelmed, I needed to be reminded to just seek God above all else and to trust in His provision. I have continued using what I learned in STEP within my ministry and everyday life. I believe God will continue to use the things I learned to help guide me wherever he wants to take me forward.
Ethan Myers is incredibly thankful for his wonderful family, including his wife and two little girls. He is a member of Mercersburg Mennonite Church, serving on the Elder team and leading the congregation’s young adult group.