One of the biggest problems with mission work in Europe is the same problem missionaries have all over the world: they fail to train leaders.
- Missionaries spend all their time trying to get converts and do not train leaders.
- Missionaries spend all their time trying to build their church up to look like an American church and fail to train and prepare men.
- Missionaries cannot go home on furlough or when they do go home on furlough they turn their work over to another missionary because they have not trained national men to lead.
- Missionaries end up being pastors instead of churches-planters.
Here are some things to consider:
- Jesus spent the bulk of His time training men. Mark 3:14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.
- When divers were hardened, Paul separated the disciples and taught them every day. During the next two years, all of Asia Minor heard the word of the Lord Jesus. They did not all believe, but they did get the gospel out to all of them. (Acts 19:9-10)
- When Paul left the churches, they were not large, but he had men that he ordained to lead the churches. Acts 14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, 22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
Training men is one of the most challenging yet most rewarding things any person will ever attempt. For many years, I either had no men to train, attempted to train men who were not faithful, able, or teachable, and felt like I was never going to be able to train men. Now, the Lord has given us a a few men that are training for ministry, and we have tried to train everyone that has come to our church to as high a level as they were will willing.
Here are some things I am learning about training men:
- The very nature of training means that before the training takes place they will not know what or how. Often, we expect instant leaders, but it is our job to see what they can become as the grace of God works in them. Probably in every church, there is at least one man that given the right kind of love, patience, opportunity, and investment could become a strong leader. We just have to be committed to the belief that God is going to raise up labourers, every child of God wants to serve God, and that He is going to bless His church with gifted men who can mature the saints.
- Most training is informal rather than formal. Our paradigm of training is usually formed around a Bible college or Bible institute. Though the Bible college/institute can really help with training, much training takes place through doing the ministry together, spending time together, talking informally, and personal mentoring.
- Training men is tough because…
- we have to trust
- we have to let people fail and fall
- we have to be willing to not have everything do
- we have to see not what they are but what they can become
- we have to believe in them
- we have to be patient and make workers our goal not numbers our goal
- we have to invest lots of time and resources into make them a success
- we have to be unselfish, humble, and a servant.
I am not sure where you are at in this, but let me encourage you who are in leadership to use your position to train not just do. If you are supporting a missionary, make sure that training men is a priority for him. If you are a missionary, never underestimate the importance of training one man – long after the crowds have come and gone, those disciples will remain and will be carrying the work forward.
Stay tuned for more…