Our ministry’s main goal is to develop effective leaders for the work of the Kingdom. Our desire to do this work comes from seeing that, over the last twenty years or so, all of the problems the church has had stem from leaders that have not been properly trained or educated. The problems ultimately come from lack of knowledge. We want to train church planters who are focused on the needs of their ministry, and are able to meet them in a way that facilitates continued growth and community for everyone who attends.
The most surprising thing that I have encountered through doing this work is how often the problems of the church are blamed on other church members. Before being properly trained and discipled, everyone points fingers at one another, but after receiving proper training, they understand its importance and begin taking responsibility for the things that they once considered someone else’s problem to fix. They often ask for even more training, so that their perspective stays fresh and they do not slip back into old habits.
This kind of training does not come without its own challenges. Often, the leaders going through the training want only to receive the certificate at the end, and have no interest in learning or changing their ways. Even those that have the right motivations at the beginning often have a difficult time applying what they learned once the training is over and they are placed in a leadership position. I also encounter leaders who were not originally chosen for their qualifications, but only because they happen to be related to church elders or other leaders. These are the people that act as though they already know everything before the training has even started, and they are often the most difficult to work with.
One leader that we worked with had been serving in his church for many years prior to our meeting. After being in our training program for only three days, he got up in front of all of the other trainees with him and said this:
“Before this training started, I thought I knew everything there was to know about leadership. What I have learned in just the last three days is more than I ever knew before. I have learned what the true responsibility of a church leader looks like. I have been asking myself for years why I have been unable to see any fruit from my ministry, and today I got the answer: I am not leading the church according to the Bible’s teachings. Instead, I have been selfish – following my own personal agenda and desires instead of those of the church as a whole. This was creating a conflict between myself and the other church leaders, and even between myself and the members of the church. I know now that this needs to change, and I need to lead based on what God wants from me, not what I want for myself.”
His eyes were full of tears by the time he finished speaking, and he left that training a changed man. Please continue to pray for him, and for the rest of our trainees as they come to similar realizations.