Here’s an opportunity to partner with us in urban church planting and to receive back yourself. Along with a few other people, I’ve been arguing for some time that we need to revisit how we train and equip people for pastoral ministry. Whilst traditional theological seminaries still have their place, I believe that many Christian workers would be best prepared for Gospel work through a form of vocational training similar to apprenticeship schemes in the business world. I’ve spent plenty of time explaining my rationale for this. So, in this article I just want to explain a little of how it would work if you came to train with us here in the West Midlands.
First, we would ask you to move into an urban context here in the West Midlands if you are not already living here. The point about vocational training is that it’s on the job. You learn ad train whilst beginning to do the work you are being equipped to do. We would be asking you to join us here as a trainee church planter. So, I am asking you to do the same as we are asking potential pioneer planters to do (see tomorrow’s post for more details). The idea is that you commit to live in a community and begin to build relationships with people for the next three years, minimum.
Second, we would sit down with you to evaluate where you are in terms of a set of core competencies including teaching, practical leadership, pastoral care, discipleship and evangelism. The approach is outcomes led meaning that instead of requiring everyone to go through the same teaching programme, we look to tailor training and mentoring to your needs.
Teaching will be through a variety of methods including in person discussion, online content and guided reading. Assessment will be practical as you go along. There’ll be no end of semester exams to sit and we will not normally be asking you to write traditional essays. Instead, in the main, you’ll be continually assessed against the core competencies through observation. Incidentally, the absence of end of semester exams coupled with the flexibility built into this approach means that we will lose less time to vacations and exam study leave meaning that we will be able to cover more ground during the year.
Following Lloyd Jones’ example at London Seminary, this invitation is for those who are not concerned about receiving a formal qualification such as a degree. Instead participants will build up a portfolio showing their progress against the core competencies We would also provide letters of reference to those seeking Christian employment elsewhere.
Now, at the end of 3 years, anything is possible. It may be that in terms of seeking to reach people, you have seen little in the way of visible fruit. Don’t worry. The worst case scenario will be that you’ve spent three years, sharing your life with others whilst learning more about Jesus. However, it could be that during that time you begin to see a fledgling church plant emerging and even end up staying on longer to see that church plant become established.
You can probably get a feel for style and content when it comes to training by having a full look around the faithroot.com site
It is also possible to make use of Faithroots training as a distance learning resource. This would mean.
- Accessing online training sources including video & audio series, downloading written publications, accessing materials via the blog.
- Linking up with me via Zoom for regular tutorial and coaching sessions.
- Arranging for someone from your home church or another local church to provide practical experience and assessment opportunities for you.
In fact, because moving takes time, it might make sense for some to start the training process accessing online content whilst preparing to move.
Please drop me a message with any queries you may have or check out the Training page for further details.