I currently live and pastor in Scotland, a country that has a strong spiritual history, but sadly that is not the case anymore. The percentage of the population that would consider themselves Christian is unbelievably low and an increasing amount of churches are compromising on the gospel. Some people are taking the view that this means people need to retreat from the church, that people need to leave the ‘established church’. Whilst I understand why they would come to that conclusion I completely disagree. We need pastors and leader to have courage, to boldly stand their ground firm in the gospel and preach the Word of God. We also need pastors to train men, in their local congregations, to preach the Word faithfully. Pastors, get training!
One of the most encouraging things to me over the last year has been a preachers group that I started in the church I serve. Myself and a group of men gather once a month to wrestle with how to preach a book of the Bible, we then prepare sermons together, listen to each-others devotionals on a passage and give feedback, then they preach the sermon to a church. Why is this so encouraging? Because I see a group of men who have a deep desire and longing to wrestle with, understand and communicate God’s Word!
I set up this group because another church asked for preachers, so it gave me the perfect opportunity to do this group and I never want to see it closed.
Pastors and church leaders, who are you training up? We need to move away from the idea that ministry is a one man show and we need to equip our people, not just to be good and faithful disciples, but disciple making disciples! To do that we need to invest in people. Yes, it is time consuming. No, it isn’t always easy. But it is absolutely worth it! Training and investing in people tells the whole church that you have a Kingdom-mindset and not just a local church mindset.
Training means that you’ll be investing in people and it might mean that you’ll need to let those people go and serve elsewhere. Again, this is a Kingdom-mindset that has an outward focus on the whole body of Christ and not just your own local expression of that. Training also means that you will need to make room in your pulpit. If you want to train men to preach then you need to give them a shot. A person can do all the work in the study they want, they can craft a ‘perfect sermon’ but it is just a manuscript if it sits in the drawer. Get them int he pulpit and let them share the message.
Training means that you want to give others a shot at things (preaching, leading ministries, courses, events, etc.), they won’t always be perfect, they might not be the way you would do things, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t glorify God. The church needs to move away from things being perfect or professional and we need to get back to the roots of teaching God’s Word faithfully and making disciple-making-disciples. Be there to encourage, be there to correct, be there to challenge and be there to build up.
But in all this do not only go for the ‘obvious’ people! There will be plenty of gifted people in your churches and circles who may be overlooked, but with a little bit of training and encouragement could be used mightily by the Lord for His service. I know a umber of people who never thought that they could/would preach or lead a ministry, yet after a wee bit of encouragement (and occasionally a wee push in the right direction) they’ve been faithful servants of the Lord. Don’t overlook anyone because the Lord is not bound by our thinking, our ideas or our standards. Thank the Lord for that!
So pastor and church leader, when you’re next making the rota for preaching, or for whatever ministry, consider how often you’re stepping aside to let someone you’re training step up and serve the Lord with the gifts they have been given.
We need to think Kingdom and build up, equip and train our local church members to be used by God in our own church, in other churches and in other ministries (both locally and globally).