Training for Church Ministry: It’s Essential!

Caution! – This post may be controversial! I’m not claiming to be an expert on this issue. I’m merely a 20 year old theology student who’s being taught by an incredible God about ministry and the path he has called me to for the rest of my life. This post applies to me as much as anyone else! And of course, I may be wrong on this issue – but I shall leave that with you to consider 🙂

Don’t tell me that someone can go into full time Church ministry without some sort of training. I mean, in the past, people have tried to justify people’s lack of training for ministry because ‘The Holy Spirit has anointed him’ or ‘The power of God has come upon her’. Rubbish. One of the marks of a leader is a teachable spirit. And I don’t think that means merely being able to take a spiritual slap in the face and learn from it.

OK, we could get all technical about the sort of training I’m talking about but to be honest, training for ministry is training for ministry, whether it’s a three year residential or pioneer ministry. And besides, I’m not even talking about that.

I’m talking about that PLUS your life long learning as a church leader. Will anyone who goes into ministry be ready to lead a church? Of course not! No one is ready. No one will ever be ready. But by God’s lead, his grace and his faithfulness, he helps us along in our vocation.

Jesus spent 30 years training for a 3 year ministry. We spend 3 years training for a 30 year ministry. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

There’s nothing wrong with doing a degree in theology or church ministry. I’m doing one now. But what I’m saying to myself and to you is that we should NEVER think that three years in a college or university will be enough and keep the steam in us for a lifelong commitment to the Church and seeing people come to know Jesus. Unfortunately, some people have been misguided into thinking that 3 years or less, sometime no training is ample. Often, these people have been given a false sense of security due to the fact that some individual has said ‘Oh the Holy Spirit is upon you! I know – why don’t we ordain you next week? You can be a minister at such and such a church; you won’t need to answer to anyone – no accountability required. Just rock up, read the Bible, teach it and bash out a few prayers – you’ll be fine’. I’ll say it again; ministry is a life long learning process.

Those who don’t think that, or have been misguided into thinking that they’re alright simply by doing their daily devotional to keep them fuelled for ministry, or refuse to take lifelong training, should, in my opinion be taken out of leadership of their churches immediately. Harsh, I know; but necessary if we are to see the church grow and to become the Church that Christ desires her to be.

Christians are expected to mature in their faith. That is, ALL Christians are expected to learn their faith. How much more then are Church Leaders meant to grow and mature, to always be deepening that everlasting relationship?

I know the Holy Spirit is a gift given to Christians and that he’s there to be called on at any time and for anything. But whilst this truth remains, He’s not there to be taken advantage of. He’s certainly not there to be an excuse or justification for poor preparation for ministry.

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Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about

  • Malcolm

    So in the light of that how do we account for C H Spurgeon?

    • Malcolm, undoubtedly there are men and women who are blessed by God and start a ministry with no formal training. This has shown to be the case. Do they not seek training in some form or another during their ministry? Of course they do! The desire of a minister is to see the Kingdom come, and part of their job as ministers is to be equipped to facilitate spiritual growth.

  • Mike

    I have never yet met a new born who runs a church so I imagine that all church leaders have had some form of training, even if that is at the university of life- you know the one that Jesus went too.

    Now if you are talking about FORMAL training you may have a point, but I wonder how necessary a formal training really is- and I speak as one howding a degree in theology.

    It catches me that in ministry I have drawn more from my experiences in life than from my formal learning-and yes I continue to learn. Of course, the exception is for sermons where I recon a formal learning can help but is again not obligatory- after all, which university did Jesus, or the apostles for that matter, attend.

    • Good thoughts, Mike 🙂 Though Jesus did learn and seek wisdom…

  • KD

    I think that anyone putting themselves in a position where they give spiritual advice to others, who try to help others to deal with all the problems that life can throw at us, has first of all to be humble. No ego trips please, thank you very much. (Always a danger!)

    And training? Yes, I think it would be good to have some kind of stable, standardised foundation which you can rely on yourself, as you try to advise others. Obviously you’re going to want to give people sensible, well-grounded and helpful advice. So a decent standard of academic work, and some life experience to draw on, are both important, I think.