The Goal of Training

Training Small

Sitting in a meeting recently a person made this comment, she said,

“We have got a new leader, they went on a course and now they are trained.”

That comment made me stop and wonder…when is someone actually trained? It is commonly held that someone is trained when they have completed a course, when they have got a degree, when they have attended a set of lectures, when they have mastered some content but is that how it works? When does training end? When can training stop? Can we ever say that someone is now trained?

Tony Payne, Colin Marshall and the guys at MTS in Australia have helpfully developed a way of understanding the process of training and discipleship. It goes something like this….

•Far away from God

•Thinking about God

•Profession of Faith

•New Disciple

•Growing Disciple

•Minister to Others

•Trainer of Others

Every person is somewhere in their spiritual journey, somewhere along that line. Training is simply helping them to move along the line, one step to the right. That process helps us to see the goal clearly. A trainee is trained when they are training others, not when they have mastered material, or attended a course or been awarded a piece of paper. A trainer is trained only when they have understood, embraced and internalised training for themselves.

Here are some implications for when we train:

  • Whenever you teach a trainee something encourage them to teach it to someone else.
  • As a part of your training read and discuss 2 Tim 2:2 with them.
  • Pray with them around Matt 9:38. Get them to pray this with others.
  • Expect them to be involved in the process of recruiting and training others. Ask them to do it. Hold them accountable to it. Make time for this in their apprenticeships.
  • Keep on training them until you see them training others.

The Most Important Lesson on Training

Training Small

It was like a light bulb went on for me. The preacher was speaking on an all too familiar text, Jesus appointing the 12 to be his apostles (Mk 3:13-19) when a little line (that I must have read hundreds of times) jumped out and punched me firmly between the eyes.

Mark 3:14 says: He appointed twelve - designating them apostles - that they might be with him.

That little phrase, “that they might be with him” is the essence of Jesus training strategy. It is not complicated. It doesn’t involve huge resources. You don’t have to be brilliant or particularly gifted to pull it off. In fact it is incredibly simple. The essence of training is sharing your life with them. It doesn’t require classrooms or formal curricula or expensive buildings. It is just presence - him with them. He shared himself with them. They were together for three years. They must have talked about the Scriptures, talked about people, talked about ministry, talked about politics and ethics. They surely prayed together, kicked a ball, laughed and wept together. He taught them what to do with his words and they watched him do it himself. As he did ministry they saw the way he handled people and how he handled the Bible, they saw how he lived and they saw his heart…because training is more than knowledge. Training is knowledge and skills, but the most important part of training is the training of the heart. Christian ministry must flow out of a heart that is deeply in love with God.

The strategy isn’t complicated but it is costly. Lorne Sanny says,

Sometimes we don’t want to get involved. We don’t want the phone to ring at night. We want to pull up the drawbridge around our little home so nothing disturbs our peace. But if you’re going to share your life with people, it’s going to disturb your peace. That’s the cost. It will tear you apart. But it will also thrill you…

6 thoughts for training…

  1. Training is very simple. It is simply sharing your life and ministry. Anyone can do it.
  2. You can’t train if you won’t give yourself. Don’t even try.
  3. Do as much as you can with your trainees. Take them with you.
  4. Share your life with them. Share your joys and struggles, your successes and failures. Let them watch you do it.
  5. Let them catch your passion for God.
  6. Centre all you do on the Bible. Make sure you are reading and praying it with them.

Additional reading: The Master Plan of Evangelism, Robert Coleman…a classic and a must read.

Billy Graham says about this book, “Few books have had as great an impact on the cause of world evangelisation…”

Children’s Workers Training Days in KZN

t day july

Several times a year the KZN children’s workers executive runs regional training days at Christ Church Pinetown. These are aimed at providing support for lay children’s leaders and teachers in the form of training and equipping for practical kids ministry, as well as Bible handling skills.

Our first training day for this year was held in March, with 55 people attending two sessions led by Rory & Kim Bell. The Bells are two of CESA’s most experienced trained children’s workers and have just taken over leadership of TnT Ministries in London. We’re so glad we had the opportunity to hear and learn from them before they left!

Kim spoke on the importance of teaching children the Bible from a very young age, and gave some helpful ideas on how to set up this kind of ministry. In his session, Rory reminded us why children’s ministry is so strategic. We covered topics such as what material to use, how to recruit leaders, why we should be committed to evangelism and how to better create a culture of service in our Sunday schools. We were encouraged that we had quite a few men attend the training day, both dads and those involved as Kids Club or Sunday school leaders.

We invited Michael Schafer to speak at our second training day at the end of July on how we as children’s workers can support the parents of the children we teach. The seminar – entitled ‘Don’t Forget the Parents!’ – covered the two extremes of parenting: overemphasising it at the expense of parents following Christ themselves, and underemphasising it which results in parents not sufficiently embracing the responsibilities they have. It was a very helpful time of discussion about the role of Christian parents as the primary teachers of the Bible to their children, and how children’s ministers can encourage and support this within the context of their local churches.

With one more training day planned for the year, we’d appreciate your prayers as we prepare for it.