There are a number of different ways of gaining training and experience in church ministry. For some this may include spending time at Theological College but actually, the main foundations for ministry training start in the home church and there’s a lot that even a moderate sized church can do.
Here are some ways that we encourage training and ministry development at what is a small to medium sized church.
1. A rich Biblical studies curriculum – over the past 5 years, someone attending the Chapel would have had the opportunity to study 20 – 30 books of the Bible in depth by attending both a morning and evening service, plus a home group. They will have been exposed to different genres including wisdom, history, prophecy and epistles. They will have looked at both the Old Testament and New Testament and they would have covered all 4 Gospels. The point is that this is the essential core curriculum for any trainee leaders. And … if you are a Gospel church with faithful, expository ministry you are already doing this.
2. Doctrine and Ethics. Intermingled with expository book teaching, we pick up on topical and doctrinal series from time to time. We also encourage members to make use of faithroots.net. I would suggest that pastors make best use of blogging resources by thinking about how they can supplement the teaching needs of their immediate congregation first and foremost. We also offer faithroots Live sessions where people can study and discuss the site’s content.
3. Church history, apologetics, leadership and pastoral counseling training is offered via 1 day workshops and summer Bible schools.
All of this happens in the context of a loving church family where potential and emerging leaders can get hands on practice of leading, teachingvisiting, counselling and witnessing with 1-1 mentorship from other leaders. Currently we have a number of younger members who are being encouraged to test and develop gifts in these areas. This also means that teaching and preaching isn’t and shouldn’t be restricted to the pastor and/or 1 or two elders.
Alongside this we’ve also
1. Given one young man the opportunity to serve as a church apprentice for a year before supporting him through Bible college.
2. Provided mentoring and training to another emerging leader as he has begun planting a new congregation.
3. Offered short term placements/ internships of between 1 week and a month.
All of this happens in a church that isn’t large and doesn’t have large pots of cash at its disposal. I’d like to encourage other church leaders to consider how they could be training and multiplying leaders.
If you’d like to find out more about how you can train alongside Bearwood Chapel, check out our Training With Us and Plant BC pages.