Fortunately, we already have the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and teach us as we mature in Christ. And ministry training is not completed in one season of time. Disciples of Jesus Christ and ministers should be learning, growing and being transformed throughout their entire lives. John exhorts us in this lifelong process of spiritual growth (1John 2:12-14).
However, it is also wise to have a specific training period for every potential minister. Good judgment should be used in determining the length of training. Some believers might already have a Christian background or Bible knowledge to draw upon. They may progress more quickly, and be ready for leadership responsibilities sooner. Others might need much more time to mature in character, and grow in knowledge and experience in the things of God.
Regardless of the length of training, it should be primarily Bible based. Every training program should also emphasize:
- Dedication and commitment to Christ (Gal 2:20)
- Purity of character, life and relationships (1Cor 9:24-27)
- Faithfulness in the study of the Word and prayer (2Tim 2:15; Eph 6:18)
- A strong dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 4:20; Col 1:28,29)
- Practical, “hands-on” training [immediately doing what is taught] (Luke 10:1-17)
As we raise up new church leaders, we can stand confident upon Christ’s promise, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (John 14:12). His Word is true! We can, by His grace, be abundantly fruitful in ministry – and our fruit will remain (John 15:16).
- LET THE LEADERS LEAD!
Jethro’s instruction to Moses continues: “And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you (Ex 18:22).
Faithful church leaders must follow the scriptural pattern of training others for leadership. “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2Tim 2:2). We must teach them from the Bible, lead by example, and give them opportunities for hands-on training.
But the final step is the most important in the process: let them lead! We are to identify potential leaders, equip them for ministry, and then release them to do the work of ministry. If we do not release and trust others to handle responsibilities in ministry, we will cut short their growth and rob the Body of Christ of their contribution!
a. Transfer the Burden
As we release others to lead, we are transferring the burden of ministry. We learn from Moses’ experience that there are two distinct areas of burden to share with other leaders:
1) Sharing the burden of ministry tasks (Ex 18:22)
There are many practical details and tasks that need attention for a church or ministry to function properly. The pastor or primary church leader cannot always handle all of these details alone. These can include things such as: coordinating the worship team; counting and recording the offerings; caring for the poor or sick; teaching the children; setting up chairs or equipment; cleaning the church; preparing bulletins or handouts; and many, many more practical concerns.