In virtually any work
responsibility, some level of training is necessary, both at the time a person begins employment and CONTINUING training (education) to maintain peak knowledge, skills, and professional certifications.
Jesus modeled the value and practice of training in His earthly ministry. He invited people to follow Him, and those who did were disciples (students or learners). He taught them by word, example, and experience. Then He sent them out to use what they had been taught. When they returned, He talked with them about their experiences and continued their training. When His earthly ministry was completed, He commissioned them to continue that mission and gave them His Spirit to enable them to accomplish that work.
How can this training be done? Let’s answer that question in three dimensions—training by the leader individually, training by or within the church, and training beyond the church.
By the leader individually
- Read a book, article (print or web), or magazine
- View a DVD
- Listen to a CD, including a book on CD
- Complete a workbook
Note: when using either a DVD or CD item, have a printed listening guide to enable your leader to take notes and better retain the content
By or within the Church
- Training session(s) at the church—led by persons in the church or outside persons
- Book discussion club—read a chapter each week, then meet for no longer than one hour each week to discuss key points and make practical application of the content
- Observation—have a prospective leader observe a good leader in action. This works best if, for example, a teacher gives some orientation before the observation, provides a list of things to look for, and then has a time of debriefing of the experience.
- Apprentice—this is a longer term relationship in which the person being trained works alongside an experienced leader over a period of several weeks or months. This usually involves times of planning together and steadily increasing amounts of leadership by the apprentice.
Beyond the Church
Training offered by the local association or through the state convention and Lifeway Christian Resources enable the church to provide excellent inspiration and practical ministry knowledge and skills to new and veteran leaders.
By Wayne Etheridge
Sunday School Consultant and member of Oak Valley Baptist Church, Franklin, Tennessee.