By Amy Robertson
Wes Olmstead, Cal Macfarlane, and David Guretzki spent January 22 and 23 teaching at the church’s third annual School of Discipleship, held in the church building in Lethbridge.
Olmstead taught a seminar on the Sermon on the Mount, MacFarlane taught about spiritual formation, and Guretzki taught a biblical perspective on chronic illness within marriage.
Ian Lawson, the church’s lead pastor, a former Briercrest employee, and a current member of Briercrest’s board of directors, has heard about the quality of Olmstead’s teaching over the years. This year, he decided to try it for himself, and Olmstead delivered. “I’ve read the Sermon on the Mount 100 times,” Lawson said, “and I saw things I’d never seen before.”
Conrad Broersma (College '07), who pastors a small church in a nearby town, attended Guretzki’s course on chronic illness in marriage. As one of Guretzki’s former students and as the father of an 18-month-old girl who suffers from a genetic mutation that causes frequent, serious seizures, Broersma appreciated that Guretzki spoke from experience as he suggested biblical means of coping with illness and stressed that illness “isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.” Guretzki’s wife suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.
The church works with Briercrest in part because of its significant connections there—the majority of its staff are Briercrest alumni or former Briercrest employees.
Like Acree, Pastor Lawson believes that formal biblical education is important for those who can’t attend Christian college full time. Discipleship “begins with the mind,” he says.
Acree says the church plans to evaluate the benefit of the School of Discipleship and would like to continue it next year.