This is probably the most important question. For a lot of pastors, it comes down to a desire to see gospel ministry carried on into the next generation and beyond the borders of their own influence. This, alone, is enough. It is biblical. The apostle Paul trained up leaders everywhere he went, because the growth of the gospel through the work of others was an integral element to his own view of church ministry. For me (and the amazing pastoral team I am a part of), the question becomes one of my own commitments to training, as a pastor, rather than outsourcing it to seminaries or other training programs. Put differently, where is my urgency?
Four convictions on the present state of training in the modern church
- Wicked men have already beaten us to the punch. Very simply, false teachers have no problem training their followers to lead people astray. This reality is clear according to 2 Timothy 3:1-9. People will be trained for ministry no matter what we do. So, we ought to offer an alternative to the false teachers.
- Weak people already rule the world. Because of the proliferation of false teachers, there is an abundance of people who have no grasp of the gospel both outside and even inside the church. This is probably most apparent in mainline churches. They are filled with wonderful, moral people who want good things. But they can, at times, also end up being little more than social activism organizations. The reality of the gospel has no effect on some of them. They don’t recognize the gospel. And ultimately, those kind of churches end up doing away with God’s Word altogether.
- Strong-willed men are already leading the way. By “strong-willed,” I mean consciously and purposefully untrained people. In our country today, more than ever, we have people entering full-time ministry with absolutely no formal training. And while I think there is nothing magical about “formal” training in the sense of a seminary degree, this trend often implies to the impressionable among us that training is unnecessary. Combined with a growing anti-intellectualism, this degradation of training—whether by formal education or field experience—is becoming incredibly dangerous. Handling God’s Word in a church ministry context is something that requires some skill, skill that is conveyed through training. Again, the issue is not credentials. The issue is whether or not people entering ministry believe that handling God’s Word well is important.
- Well-meaning men have lost their way. This is probably most evident in the way our own churches tend to hire ministers. Typically, pastors think about hiring additional staff for two reasons: (1) to take some less desirable facet of ministry off their own plate; or (2) to fill in gaps in the ministry coverage of the church. In other words, training takes place to address perceived deficiencies in the current ministry. But neither of these is Jesus’ reason for training up apprentices in Matthew 9. He gathers his disciples in order to create ministry. He, very simply, trains them and sends them out to find new ministry opportunities.
- Residential Training
- Online Training
Areas of training in Christian realm
- Decision-making and the Christian Leader: Demonstrating grace is part of the Christian faith but what happens when that impedes important decisions.
- Introverted and Extroverted Leadership: Every leader is different! Do you know which category you fall into?
- Listening Like Christ: Leaders need to fine-tune their active listening skills in order to prescribe a solution accurately.
- Servant Leaders: Teach your team how to serve and love one another like past servant leaders.
- When Tragedy Strikes a Congregation: From natural disasters to family tragedies, they do occur. Does your staff now how to minister to the congregation during times of grief.
- Communicating Effectively with Your Ministry Team: You like to email but he prefers Skype. How should leaders communicate?
- Starting a New Ministry (or Reviving an Old One): How do you start a church in the current culture? Can you revive a dying ministry?
- Establishing a Church Web Presence: Everyone is one the web but should they be? Find out the best way to establish a web presence for your ministry.
- Recruiting, Training and Managing Volunteers: Learn how to attract and grow those crucial volunteers
- Witnessing in the 21st Century: Leaders may need a brush up sharing their faith. Present new ideas for witnessing to others.