Elders and preachers/teachers of God’s Word have an incredible calling. I believe in equal, plural leadership in the church which means that I don’t see a distinction between a full time paid pastor and voluntary elders apart from the fact that one is paid full time by the church. However, many if not most paid pastors have had the opportunity to train at Theological College for ministry. So, what about those who continue to work in other sectors and don’t get that opportunity? I would encourage you to still invest seriously in training. We should want to be the best possible gifts to the church, to be thoroughly equipped for service and to be growing in our gifts.
Here are some ways that you can do this.
- Improve your preaching and teaching skills.
– You might want to pick up a and read books like “Preaching Matters” by Jonathan Lamb or “Cutting to the Heart” by Chris Green
– Get feed back from other preachers.
– Allow yourself to be filmed or recorded and watch/listen back
- Deepen your knowledge of the Bible
– This will include reading Biblical Theology such as Graeme Goldsworthy’s Trilogy as well as books that provide an introduction and overview of the books, see e.g. Carson and Moo.
– Stock up on good quality technical commentaries.
– What about starting to learn the Biblical languages with Biblemesh?
- Strengthen your doctrine
We need to be able to feed Christ’s sheep well but we also need to be able to guard them from danger. Are you up to date and alert to the specific dangers facing the church. Many preachers and elders will no doubt have a copy of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology but I would encourage you to go a bit further and a bit deeper.
– Other one volume Systematic Theologies include Louis Berkoff.
– Why not start to dig deeper with a of these multi volume series that look at Revelation, The Doctrine of God, Sin and Redemption and New Creation in more detail. I recommend starting with Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics.
– An informed knowledge of church history will guard against contemporary errors. For a taster, try Mark Knoll’s “Turning Points.”
- Become Better equipped to offer pastoral counsel.
– Pick up and spend some time with Paul David Tripp’s “How people change
I’ve focused here on books to pick up and read. That’s a good way to learn. Why not agree with a couple of other elders to form a reading group and work through some books together.
There are also lots of online resources including our regular faithroots.net articles and a selection of E-books available from our publication page. There you’ll find materials on Revelation, The Doctrine of God, introductions to some books of the Bible and pastoral/ethical issues such as marriage, male and female leadership, same sex attraction etc.
You may also be able to enrol with an evening or weekend training programme. If you are close to Bearwood, you are welcome to join us for our regular Faithroots Live Sessions which run on a Saturday once a quarter.