Don’t spring opportunities on people at the last minute and expect them to fit it onto their busy schedules.
Remember that many of your workers will have child care needs, perhaps transportation needs, or scheduling conflicts. Accommodate when you can.
The question is not if workers need to be trained but how. In today’s world, giving workers choices in how to get trained will increase the likelihood of it happening. The Staffing Ministry Manual includes a template you can use to develop a list of possible alternative training resources for different ministries.
So often we think of ministry training as skill development relevant to the different types of ministries. But, ministry training can be so much more. The following acrostic gives ideas of what can be provided as part of your in-service training that includes task development but goes beyond to minister to the whole person and to provide assistance in a timely manner in a variety of ways with the focus always on God.
Acrostic with Elements to Include in In-Service Ministry Training
Once we’ve assessed ministry needs, we’re ready to start recruiting people to accomplish these goals. But, staffing ministry doesn’t end there. People need to be trained. Effective training of volunteer church and ministry workers needs to be on-going. A more comprehensive approach to training begins before they’re placed into ministry and ends when they’re ready to leave that position. By so doing you will help them more effectively serve now and in the future.
Types of Ministry Training Needed to be Most Effective:
The Staffing Ministry Manual lists the following types of training, along with other help on training, in addition to more topics related to staffing:
(1) Pre-Service Training:
After you recruit people and before you actually place them into the ministry position, you should provide them with at least training of the basic skills required for the task and orientation to prepare them for what they will be doing. This training could include observation, classroom instruction, or an internship/apprenticeship. The combination of the three would be ideal.
(2) In-Service Training:
Training should be an on-going process. Everyone has room to learn and grow. The next post will provide elements of effective in-service training. (You can subscribe to receive e-mail notice of new posts.)
(3) Post-Service Debriefing:
People may leave a ministry position for a variety of reasons. To help them for future ministry, take time to sit down with them to discuss what they liked about the ministry they were doing, what they didn’t like, and how they can take what they learned into future ministry.
Now we get to the final phrase which shows the purpose for which Scripture thoroughly equips us — “for every good work”.
Scripture is Enough to Equip Us for Every Good Work
Scripture contains all we need to equip us for whatever good work we might do. While we can learn from psychology and science, we must always run it through the grid of Scripture. But, if we only had the Bible, it would be enough. — “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Pet. 1:3) — Scripture provides knowledge about God. — “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Pet. 1:4)
This is why the Train Church Leaders Practicum runs various tasks leaders do through the grid of God’s Word in regard to His purposes, design and mission for the Church, Christ-like character, power, etc. People from around the world can be equipped through this training since it seeks to be scripturally rather than culturally based.
The Kind of Work for Which Scripture Thoroughly Equips
The adjectives used in 2 Timothy 3:17 describe the kind of work Scripture equips us to do.
1) Good Work
What constitutes something good?
It’s fruitful effect: beneficial, useful
It’s excellent quality: meets a standard
It’s upright character: done with integrity, pleasing to God
God uses His Word to teach us what fits the above criteria. Any work we do which is purely selfish or carnal, will not be that which benefits others or pleases God. Don’t expect God to provide wisdom or strength for that which does not align with Him. Scripture equips us for “good” work.
2) Every Good Work
No task falls outside of the scope of “every” good work. Scripture equips us for each and every individual good work we do of all types of good deeds. That means God will equip us, through His Word, for ministry that is …
behind-the-scenes or upfront
task-oriented or people-oriented
a big ministry assignment or a seemingly small one
full-time, part-time, or volunteer
The Ultimate Purpose in Being Thoroughly Equipped for Every Good Work
If we look at the whole of Scripture, we find the ultimate effect of Christians doing good. The more thoroughly equipped, the more we will bear fruit to the glory of God.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt. 5:6)
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, (Col. 1:9-10)
When we are thoroughly equipped for every good work, we grow in our relationship with God, others are helped, and most importantly, God is glorified.
God uses His Word to thoroughly equip but who needs that kind of equipping? Certainly we would say pastors, missionaries, and others in full-time ministry. And, we might add Bible teachers and ministry leaders to the list.
If we look at 2 Timothy 3:16-17, however, we find that those God intends to thoroughly equip aren’t just people in certain positions or types of ministry but rather, all of His people.
All God’s People Need to be Thoroughly Equipped
Depending on the Bible version we use, we might read that either the “man of God” or “servant of God” be equipped. The Greek word anthropos used in this verse does mean “man” but generally refers more to mankind or human beings, whether male or female. The verse does not use the typical word for servant. The “of God” phrase, however, narrows down the target to those who belong to God so, by implication, “servant of God” would be accurate.
God does use His Word to bring unbelievers to Himself as seen in the verse just prior that refers to “the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). Elsewhere we read, “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Rom. 10:17).
The full benefit of God’s Word, however, comes after salvation in the lives of those now in Him — people “of God” (2 Tim.3:17). Why? We have the Spirit within us who is able to take what is God’s and make it known to us.
What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:12-14)
Because of God’s Spirit within us, we are able to understand God’s Word and use it as the grid through which we make decisions. God and His Word become the standard against which we line up whatever we do. Consequently the Holy Spirit within us makes it possible for God’s Word to thoroughly equip us. No matter our gender, ministry position, age, background, or any other factor, if we belong to God, He not only intends for us to be thoroughly equipped but has also provided the means.
But, for what purpose does He want us to be thoroughly equipped? That’s the topic for the next post.
We’ve established in the previous post that God intends for us to be thoroughly equipped for the ministry He gives us to do.
As we’ll also see in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, God provides the means for such equipping through His Word.
(Click on image to go to Pinterest for an enlarged version and repin.)
The Comprehensive Nature of Scripture Means We can be Thoroughly Equipped
Notice that “ALL Scripture is … useful” according to 2 Timothy 3:16-17. If we handpick what parts of the Bible we want to believe or apply to life, we may not find ourselves thoroughly equipped. Even the genealogies and detailed measurements can have a place in equipping us.
Perhaps before we can appreciate the details, we need a big picture perspective of Scripture and particularly of the God of the Bible. Understanding the fullness of the character and ways of God can make such a difference. Although written with Bible teachers in mind, the following posts on the TrainBibleTeachers.com blog may increase the value we place on gaining the bigger picture.
The Authoritative Basis of God’s Word for Equipping
The reason all Scripture is useful is because “all Scripture is God-breathed” and thereby not only has a purpose for being included but also the authority and power to make a difference. If we don’t believe this, we will have more of a tendency to pick and choose what we want to believe and apply. As a result, we will very likely not find ourselves thoroughly equipped. For more about this point, read the following:
Suggestion: If you doubt the veracity of Scripture, or tend to pick and choose, take time to get to know the God of the Bible better. If He truly is the God of whom there is none greater, then He has absolute authority.
The Targeted Means through Which the Bible Equips
We are at different places. What one person needs to be ready for service may differ from the next person. Some may need to learn something new. Others may need to become aware of something they’re doing wrong. Or, it might be simply tweaking or improving what we’re doing. Perhaps some need to be taken to the next step in their walk and service. Whatever the need, God’s Word is what will teach, rebuke, correct, and train us. Thorough equipping cannot be a “one size fits all” or “cookie cutter” approach.
Suggestion: Examine your approach to God and His Word. Are you hearing from Him or merely copying and comparing yourself to what others are doing?
The Depth or Extent to Which Scripture Equips
Notice how God uses His Word to train us “in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). This is a very important point as God cares about the process, not just the end result. If God didn’t address the heart, our equipping wouldn’t be thorough. He wants to transform our hearts not merely our behavior. Motivation matters. Character matters. Integrity in serving matters. Thorough equipping happens from the inside out. — For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Heb. 4:12)
Suggestion: Ask God to search your heart and thoughts to see what needs to change and to equip you accordingly (Ps. 139:23-24).