How Should Men Train for Ministry?

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.

Posted in: Ministry

7 comments

  1. Good thoughts. Working side by side is the best way to help someone grow in their relationship with Christ or to learn most anything for that matter. It is the best way to raise a child and certainly the best way to be a mentor.

    1. Larry, thanks for stopping by again! Side by side in a personal relationship is a great summary of my thoughts – that was certainly Jesus’ method with His disciples.

  2. Great post! Totally agree! So what do you think of colleges that are “local church colleges.” Should we send our young men to places like that? Take for instance….um….a place like…..well, you get the picture.

    1. Good question, Travis. I think there is certainly Biblical precedent for doing just that: Some of John the Baptist’s disciples left to follow Jesus and learn from Him. Paul left his “home church” at Damascus for further training as God directed him. Timothy left his home church to follow Paul and learn from him. There are other examples of men traveling with Paul. This is not the normal method however. Far too many churches were started in Acts for Paul or the other disciples to train each one. The norm appears to be that leaders emerged from the new converts who were then recognized by Paul, Timothy, Titus, etc. However, God does put it in the hearts of some to move elsewhere for training. Our church is certainly not opposed to anyone leaving for a local church college, but we do provide the opportunity here for a focused ministry training.

      1. Bro. Jack, those are tremendous observations from Scripture. I appreciate those. I believe an adequate synopsis would be:
        It is best to train and learn if at all possible under the ministry of your local church; at times though, the Lord may direct as His divine will for a young man to train under the leadership of another Godly man of God.
        Great thoughts!

  3. 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.

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