Thursday 11 June 2015

Training men in our churches

Continuing a theme of publicising good ideas of how to train people in our churches, here’s the pitch Grace Church Cambridge made to a number of its men. It's a really nice combination of letting other people do the work - using resources written by other people and taking people to conferences - but also focusing on character and relationships. So why not take, adapt, and make a pitch of your own…

Grace Training Program

We are starting a training program at Grace aimed at men to help them in their current and future leadership and ministry.

The elements of the program are described below. The program is designed to run for most of a year (starting in March and finishing next December).

You will see that one of the materials we’re using is specifically aimed at ‘elder’ training. We need to be clear that this is not specifically an elder training program. We want to invest in men to help them in whatever ministry is appropriate for them. For some that may well be eldership at some point (at Grace or elsewhere); for others it will be home group leading; for others it will be evangelism and discipleship in other contexts (internationals, or 1-1 meetings).

We plan to run this program on an invite-only basis with a limited number of men each year. We would want and expect people to commit to the whole program.

Please read through the details below and consider if this is something you would want to, and are able, to do. We would love to work with you and grow with you in this. 

Elements of the program

      1.    Group meeting
There will be a group meeting once per month (probably on a Sunday evening); 9 meetings in all (with a break over holiday times). This will involve (a) study of Ephesians, and (b) working through an elder training manual. Each of these will involve preparation:

(a)   Studying the appropriate section of Ephesians beforehand and coming with answers to set questions.

For each section of Ephesians you need to come with the following:
        A sentence which summaries the content of the passage (what it is saying / teaching)
        A series of applications. These can be to a variety of different areas e.g. personal discipleship, church life, mission, world view, etc.

(b)   Working through the eldership training material which includes reading and some reflective questions.

We will use an Acts 29 module covering Biblical principles of leadership.* There is a short amount of material to read often with a reflective exercise e.g. on character or marriage. There is an accompanying chapter to read in a book (Church Planter, Darrin Patrick).

      2.    1-1 discipleship
There will be regular 1-1 meetings with one of the current elders. What these meetings cover will be tailored to each individual. Possibilities include reading a book on an aspect of ministry; accountability in personal discipleship; discussion and prayer for ministry areas. These areas may change as the year goes on. Frequency of meetings will depend on availability but ideally would be every 2 weeks.

      3.    Ministry experience
Everyone included in this program is already involved in some level of ministry with Grace (and outside). We would want that to continue and potentially to develop depending on individual circumstances and gifting. The desire is that our training is grounded in real life rather than remaining abstract.

      4.    Conference
Attendance at a ministry conference can provide great stimulus and the benefit of expert training. Two suitable conferences are the FIEC leaders’ conference and the Acts 29 ‘Ignition’ conference. They both take place in November. We recognise that people’s work commitments may limit them in this but would like everyone to consider what degree of attendance would be possible.

* This elders training material, “Gospel Eldership,” is due to be published this autumn and will be available from