Before there was PATH, there was MDP (Ministry Development Program).
In 1971 MDP became the signature activity of the partnership known as IMCO (Inter-Mission Cooperative Outreach). Six mission agencies began pooling their resources to equip missionaries and Indigenous leaders to serve among First Nations and Hispanic peoples with cultural sensitivity, relevancy and increased effectiveness.
Over the years the six missions grew into ten, and the initial twelve-week MDP program condensed to eight weeks. Over the course of thirty-nine years, twenty-six groups ranging from 13 to 51 adults, along with many children, took in a wide range of entry-level cross-cultural training. Additionally there were a number of Advanced MDPs, such as the Native Urban Church-Planting symposiums (1995-99) attracting in excess of a hundred missionaries and First Nations pastors. All during this time MDP was guided by the directors of the mission agencies in the IMCO partnership.
In November, 2008 MDP turned a corner. IMCO Leadership decided to give operational and functional autonomy to MDP to “provide the space and opportunity for optimal growth.” Several First Nations leaders called the decision “historic.”
Throughout 2009 the MDP Governance Development Team evolved into the PATH Ministry Training governance council. This council, being multi-generational, multi-ethnic, and multi-gender, is committed to building on the nearly-four-decade root of PATH to tailor-design transcultural training programs for churches, denominations, para-church agencies, academic institutions, as well as mission agencies.