Could you ever contemplate a pastor sending his latest converts off to another church or organization to have then discipled, grounded, and matured in the faith? Your response to that notion would surely be, “Never! That’s unthinkable … ridiculous!” Why is it, then, that pastors who (rightfully) see the discipling of new believers to be one of their primary duties will send those from their congregation whom God has called into the ministry to someone else for training — often to a place far away, and often with results that are less than satisfactory?
The responsibility for equipping men for the ministry rests scripturally and squarely upon every Bible-believing Baptist church, and upon those whom God has placed in leadership, the pastors. This fact is made clear from Ephesians 4:11,12 — “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” There is no other organization or individual — outside of a church of the Lord Jesus Christ — that has the Biblical mandate to engage in the training and preparing of men and women for the Lord’s work.
Among Bible-believing Baptists there is general agreement that the “Great Commission” of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ,was given to His churches, and that this involves the evangelizing, baptizing, and discipling of individuals. It is also generally agreed that only New Testament (Baptist) churches have the scriptural authority to ordain God-called men as pastors — and to send out evangelists whose objective it is to establish other churches of like faith and order. This being the case, there really is NO Biblical basis or rationale for the training of such men to be received in any other setting or under any other authority than the institution the Lord established for that purpose.
From a SCRIPTURAL standpoint, a pastor must be “apt to teach” (1 Timothy 3:2). Each church is the “pillar and ground of the truth” (I Timothy 3:15), and its pastors and evangelists (missionaries) are charged with the responsibility “the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).
From a PRACTICAL standpoint, there is no better place for any man to learn firsthand the order, operation, and ethics essential to the leadership of a church than by being actually involved in one. There is no need to send your best workers away to be trained by others and serve in another church.
From a PERSONAL standpoint, a close working relationship with one’s own pastor(s)—rather than professional academics—allows tremendous opportunities for insights and evaluation not found in any other setting. Training a man is much more than lectures and book learning (as important as they are); it requires that a preacher share his heart, his vision, his burden, etc.,with the preachers-in-training God has given him (2 Timothy 3:10,11a).
The apostles and those that followed them continued the pattern established by our Lord in the training of His men. It must be the same pattern we endeavor to follow, by God’s grace, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry.
Christians reproduce Christians. Churches reproduce churches. Pastors reproduce pastors.