I’m not being trained

So, you go to a church where the pastor/vicar/ministers/leaders (now pastor for shorthand) aren’t training you in the way you’d like to be trained. You know that you could be growing as a Christian with a bit more focused input, theological training, mentoring and stuff. You could preach! You could do apologetics! You have had a taste by attending a conference or reading a book and you long to be trained up to serve. But nobody is doing that, and your pastor isn’t interested in helping you, in fact he doesn’t seem to think it’s part of his job. So, obviously it’s time to think about moving on to a different church isn’t it? Maybe a church that’s part of one of those trendy new networks where everyone can be a church planter and have their ministry potential fulfilled?

If you’re thinking of doing that, then you have one thing right – you have a lot of maturing to do as a Christian. Here’s the downlow:

1) Your pastor should be training people. But he probably has a million other things to do. Preparing sermons that people like you will critique if they don’t reach the standards of the ones you podcast from celebrity pastors is just one of those. He may have his hands full visiting sick people and comforting the grieving and dealing with a million pastoral crises you don’t know anything about. He needs the people in his church who think they have leadership potential to help, not whinge, and certainly not leave. Serving in your church, imperfect as it is, sounds exactly like the training that you need.

2) Pull your finger out and train yourself. In this day and age, excellent training materials are just one google search away. In nearly every major city there are training courses like this one that you can attend. If that’s not cup of tea, there’s loads of distance learning and part residential stuff from these people and if you don’t want a course like that, for goodness sake open a book! If you can’t be bothered doing that, here’s a list of sermons you don’t need even need to order from Amazon. Get together with a couple of people in your church, read something and pray about it. If you can’t even do that, then I’m pretty sure you are mistaking your calling to leadership. Stop delegating the responsibility for your spiritual growth to someone else. Maybe 200 years ago people’s only access to theological training was through their church leaders; it’s certainly isn’t now.

One of the key patterns we see in the Old Testament is God’s anger at his people when they dressed up their sin in a pious religious garb. I’m afraid, if your complaint is about training, you are probably doing the same thing. It sounds so evangelically plausible that you are longing to be trained; in fact you are treating church as a consumer service that doesn’t reach your high expectations, you are not respecting your leaders, you are thinking more highly of yourself than you ought. Settle down and love your church – that’s what potential leaders do.

I write all this not as a frustrated pastor who can’t do any training. In fact, at our last members meeting my amazing church passed a budget that allows us to have enough staff to train others and to have people on staff to be trained. I’m so grateful to my lovely church members for doing that. But many pastors, maybe including yours, aren’t freed by their congregations to do everything they should be doing. The people with leadership potential should be part of the solution not the problem.

One thought on “I’m not being trained

  1. I think your article is nice. We tend to forget a lot of times that we are not the focus and there are many other things our pastors have to do.I like your point that you may be thinking of yourselves more than others as you complain about it.

    I wanted to say one more thing related to the topic of not being trained to become a pastor. There are also those whom think it is their calling to preach, but the pastor and those mentoring them do not recognize that gift. Sometimes they might not recognize something you were called to do, but many times young people want to preach out of selfish ambition and pride. Sometimes its easy to convince yourself that what you want is actually what God wants. They might complain that they can do things better than their pastor without recognizing all the things there pastor has to do. Instead of recognizing that they may be moving forward in a direction God does not want them too or trying to rush too quickly they decide that they are being ignored and not trained properly. We all listen to our own enthusiam and advice and discount that of others thinking we know better than a group of wise counsellors at times.

    So I wholeheartedly agree that we all should be training ourselves especially with the wealth of knowledge out there. At the same time we should also be honestly seeking the input of others (more mature Christians in the Church not just our peers) as we make important decisions about what roles we should take on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s