What does effective training look like in local church ministry?
Frankly, I’ve seen a variety of such efforts from the once-a-year conferences pastors pack vans to attend with their workers to the 20-minute ministry orientations that help someone know the specifics of the task they’ve been asked to do. Now, I’ sure there’s no training effort that’s a waste of time as any input into our ministry efforts is surely helpful. But there’s a mindset that’s missing in many training efforts that has my focus today.
Baseball teams gather in warm climate locales for Spring training each year to get ready for the coming season. And they will spend 6-7 weeks in such preparation, getting in shape and learning the ways of the manager. Now, don’t think this time is given to teaching these pros how to play baseball. They’ve fielded millions of ground balls since childhood and most have coaches for their swings to help maximize their times at bat. While some call this a time to review fundamentals, it’s so much more than that. They are learning the way THEIR TEAM plays the game.
This is the missing component in most training efforts I observe. Those who serve in your local church ministries need to know the unique DNA, the sense of purpose, the vision that guides the ministry in which they are participating. They need to learn us!
What are the values that drive ministry at your church? How would you handle the situations they will face? They need to know because you likely won’t be there when they face them. Training is the opportunity to equip people with the “why” of your ministry effort–not just the “how.”
When people minister out of an understanding of purpose, their experience is stronger, their efforts are more effective, and their endurance in the work extends further. They’re a part of the team and it’s a long season–even longer than a baseball season. Your goal is to equip people for a life-changing opportunity to do God’s work–not just to cover a few bases or fill a few empty slots.
When people understand the “why” they are better equipped to think on the run, to adapt to the needs, and to truly minister in ways that reflect our church. And, they begin to build an ownership of that purpose that will cause them to embrace the mission in ways that keep motivating them in the future. As long as their ministry effort is the “church job” that they do, they will never grow in the ways you long to see.
So you need some Spring training! No, you don’t have to take everyone to Florida for six weeks (though, hey, sign me up on your team if you do), but you need to set aside quality and quantity time to instill the fundamentals of ministry life at your church. When you do, your team will be better equipped for a winning season. 🙂