Pastor, are you training the next generation of pastors and missionaries? Why do I ask this question? Let me give you a few things to consider.
- The average cost of sending young people to college for a four year degree is a minimum of $100,000.
- The average age of missionaries joining the ranks is between 35-40 years old.
- Many churches are failing to “maintain,” let alone “grow,” their attendance.
What do these statements say to you? Here are some of my thoughts:
- With education soaring in expense and fewer and fewer young people to draw from, many Christian colleges will find it difficult to sustain operations. More and more young people will depend on local community colleges and universities to gain the education needed to enter the work place. For this reason, local pastors will need to spend more time training the minds of their youth to handle the rigors of humanistic education.
- For those entering Bible college, many have no clue as to what they believe God will have them do with their lives. The age at which men mature is rising, and more college graduates are living at home longer, and we are seeing fewer and fewer students leaving college and entering ministry. Young people are struggling with direction, depression, large debts and purpose. The local pastor must address this age with clarity and precision from the Word of God.
- Couples in mid-life are questioning what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Because of this, some are wondering about ministry. But what to do when they have a family and education is costly! Here is where the local pastor can groom the couple to train in the local church. What a novel idea! Pastors should seek to find couples, and even younger men, who have the potential and heart for ministry and begin training them AND USING THEM IN THE MINISTRY. I believe the greatest training ground is the church.
- With many churches struggling, more churches will have to depend on lay preachers. Where will these men come from? I believe larger churches can train good men to fill the pulpits, especially on a temporary basis. The danger is letting a man preach that is not prepared. This is where the local pastor comes in. He prepares men to preach. Preaching is not pastoring. I believe the “pastor” is called, but men willing can preach.
What is needed to train God’s people?
- Hermeneutics- every pastor would do well to train good minds to interpret the Word of God correctly.
- Bible Doctrine- teaching the major doctrines is vital to the interested Bible student. I recommend Practical Christian Doctrine by Floyd Barachman.
- Bible Survey- understanding the OT and NT is critical to interpretation, and English Bible interpretation depends on a general understanding of the whole Bible.
- Homiletics- learning how to put together a Bible message.
- Computer Bible and language programs
In these days, we definitely need to prepare minds and hearts for the ministry. The greatest thing we can leave behind is trained people ready to serve the Lord. CARRY ON, MY GOOD BROTHERS!