“Young preachers, new preachers, preach bad sermons.
They preach bad sermons as they learn to preach good sermons.
And in some ways, those bad sermons serve as a mark of a church’s health and strength because they prove that the church is fulfilling its mandate to raise up the next generation of preachers and the one after that.
They prove that the church refuses to be so driven by a desire to display excellence that they will not risk the occasional dud.
They prove that the congregation is mature enough to endure and even appreciate these first, messy attempts.
There is hidden beauty, hidden value, in these bad sermons.”
(Photo: Pierre Rougier)
“Its one of the things that annoys me about the cult of the mega-pastors.
Those are pastors that most students admire, but they are not the pastors most students are going to be.
They’re going to be hammering away in the back and beyond somewhere with 50 to 100 people.
And that’s going to be it.
It’s going to be a long hard haul with not much encouragement.
And that I think is an expectation that needs to be drummed into students somehow fairly early.”
(Photo: PLRANG Images for design)
“I never took a class on how to deal with abortion, homosexuality, pornography, atheism, etc.
I understand how to biblically defend why all these things are wrong, but having a conversation with someone who has just had an abortion, is a completely different thing.
We never stop learning;
we are never “ready for ministry”.
We are in constant need of the Holy Spirit and godly mentors in our lives that can shepherd us through difficult issues.
My seminary training was priceless, but it is just the beginning of a lifetime of learning.”
(Photo: Dimitris Kritsotakis)
“Seminary’s exist—or at least they should exist—to train up future pastors for the work of the ministry.”
“The successful minister is one who faithfully lives for Christ and faithfully teaches sound doctrine as an approved workman who is not ashamed because he rightly divides the Word of God.”
So when choosing a ministry training programme, the question therefore to ask is:
“What seminary can I choose where I will be (a) discipled in the area of personal character and (b) trained to understand and teach sound doctrine?”
Within this meeting we also set aside 30-40 minutes to discuss one of the reading assignments he has been given.
The conversation is structured around 3 questions:
1. What is the book about?
I ask him to give a brief summary of the book – what is the main point being made.
2. What do you want to remember?
I ask him to pick out 3 to 5 (or more!) key things that he wants to remember.
John Piper’s quote “Books don’t change people, paragraphs do – sometimes sentences” is helpful here.
3. What do you want to discuss further?
I ask him to raise anything he’d like to talk further about – it could be something he didn’t understand, disagreed with, or wants to think through how it applies specifically to the ministry context we are in.
One component of the trainee pastor programme at Banstead Community Church is a number of reading assignments that focus on three core areas: 1) preaching; 2) pastoral ministry; 3) the local church. Here is the list of books he will read and discuss.
Trainee Pastor Reading List
- Dave Harvey, Am I Called?
- Christopher Ash, The Priority of Preaching
- Warren Wiersbe, On Being a Servant of God
- John Stevens (Ed.), Independent Church
- Derek Prime & Alistair Begg, On Being a Pastor
- Al Mohler, The Conviction to Lead
- Paul Mallard, Staying Fresh
- Brian Croft, The Pastor’s Ministry
- Brian & Care Croft, The Pastor’s Family
- Jason Adkins & Brian Croft, Gather God’s People
- Brian Croft & Ryan Fullerton, Pray for the Flock
- Bryce Butler & Brian Croft, Oversee God’s People
- Brian Croft, Visit the Sick
- Brian Croft & Phil Newton, Conduct Gospel-Centered Funerals
- Brian Croft & Austin Walker, Care for Widows
- Paul Tautges, Comfort the Grieving
- Brian Croft, Prepare them to Shepherd
- Mark Dever & Paul Alexander, The Deliberate Church
- Ray Evans, Ready Steady Grow
- HB Charles Jr, On Preaching
- Ray Ortlund Jr, The Gospel
- Mack Stiles, Evangelism
- Jeramie Rinne, Church Elders
- Bobby Jamieson, Sound Doctrine
- Jonathan Leeman, Church Membership
- Jonathan Leeman, Church Discipline
- David Helm, Expositional Preaching
- Kyle McClellan, Mea Culpa
- Jonathan Griffiths, The Ministry Medical
- Paul Tripp, Dangerous Calling
- Rhett Dodson (Ed.), Unashamed Workman
- Christopher Ash, Bible Delight
- Christopher Ash, Hearing the Spirit
- Josh Moody & Robin Weekes, Burning Hearts
- Jeremy Pierre & Deepak Reju, The Pastor and Counselling
Today, our newest trainee pastor begins his two years training with us at Banstead Community Church. Here’s a description of what’s in store for him.
Trainee Pastor Programme at Banstead Community Church
Aim: To Train and Equip Men for Pastoral Ministry.
Conviction: BOTH the local church AND a theological college are needed to give someone the best training they can possibly have to equip them for pastoral ministry.
Components of Training
1. Theological Education (delivered by Oak Hill College)
– To be taught the academic disciplines needed for a lifetime of ministry.
Subjects covered: The Word of God & Studying Theology; Biblical Theology; Biblical Studies; Homiletics; Communication; Youth & Children’s Ministry; Doctrine & History; Christian Worldview & Anthropology; Apologetics; Independent Ministry.
2. Reading Assignments
– To read, reflect and discuss a number of books focusing on three core areas: 1) preaching; 2) pastoral ministry; 3) the local church.
– Weekly meeting with the Pastor (Check in on work; planning services, preaching programme etc; book discussion; Q&A; feedback).
– Weekly sermon preparation hour.
– Attend meetings with pastor (membership interviews, pastoral visits, eldership training etc).
4. Involvement in All of Church Life
– Sunday services (inc. helping with set up and pack away).
– Prayer Meetings (inc. Men’s Prayer Breakfast).
– Evangelistic Ministries (Jelly Tots; Men’s Group; Evergreen).
– Discipleship Ministries (Men’s Theology Group).
– Special events – Week of Prayer (Jan); Holiday Bible Club (Feb).
5. Practical Ministry Experience
– Leading Service (2-3 a month).
– Preaching (1 a month).
– Leading Prayer Meeting (1 a month).
– Leading Sunday School (1/2 a month).
– Care Home Services (occasional).
– Pastoral Visitation (2 a month).
– Attend Elders Meetings.
– Lead & organise a specific ministry.
6. Devotional Life
– Follow The Big Read Bible Reading Programme.
– Use Prayer Guide (discipline of praying for members).
7. Conference Attendance
– FIEC Leaders’ Conference (November)
– The Hub Conference (January)
– Evangelical Ministry Assembly (June)
– FIEC Pastor’s Network Day (July)
(Photo: Cpl. Sarah Dietz)
“You could think of teaching like the three types of golf clubs. You have woods, irons, and a putter.
The woods are big, showy, and impressive. That is like preaching publicly. You are able to cover a lot of ground, talking to lots of people.
Then you have irons. They require finesse and accuracy. Irons are like classrooms or smaller groups, where you get feedback and dialogue.
Then there is the putter! It is personal. It is for short distances. I liken it to this third way of teaching described in 2 Timothy 2:2.
Which of the three clubs is most important?
While you need all three clubs in your bag, my observation has been that many pastors have a pulpit ministry (a driver), and sometimes a classroom (irons), but few use their putter (mentoring a few “faithful men”).”
“Every May I gather with a group of pastors from Monday to Friday.
The agenda is simple: to work through a book of the Bible together as we think about preaching it.
Every year we bring in a different scholar who has written a commentary on that book.”
To set one up a study group like this, here’s what you need:
“A group of interested pastors.
A scholar. Most Bible scholars would love to spend a week with pastors helping them think through a text.
A structure. It’s as simple as finding a place and setting a basic schedule.”