We desperately need to equip more ministers if we want to replace the countless number currently retiring or leaving the ministry for a myriad of other reasons.
Even if this exodus was not occurring, we would need more leaders simply to keep up with population growth and to pursue our biblical goal of reaching the nations for Christ. I have the privilege of being friends with many young people who are called to ministry and others who were recently called later in life. I find great joy in walking with them during these early days of their calling.
Here are some practical ways to help equip new ministers:
- Invite them to respond to God’s call to ministry leadership. We have many people sitting in our pews who are simply waiting for the invitation to come work alongside other ministers to learn how to help lead the church.
- Intentionally mentor. Fifteen years ago, I was sitting in a room full of pastors and we were discussing discipleship and the importance of having a mentor. I was the only one in the room who had a mentor when he was younger. I thank God regularly for providing men like Jeff Noble and Brandon Massey who took me under their wings and not only taught me what it meant to be a follower of Jesus but also taught me how to minister to others.
- Live life with them. The best way to learn how to make a hospital visit, share the Gospel, learn how to parent, host church members, and the thousands of other responsibilities ministers have is to watch someone else do it. Invite them to join you in everyday tasks.
- Give opportunities to serve. Teach them how to prepare a sermon and give them a place to deliver it. Let them teach Sunday School, visit the nursing home, or help pay for them to go on a mission trip. Help them identify and develop their giftings.
- Coach. How will they know how to improve if someone does not help them see their areas needing improvement? How will they know what to change in order to improve if someone does not gently teach them? Your experience will allow you to see things that they are incapable of seeing.
- Encourage, encourage, encourage. Many young people give up on their call because they feel inadequate, unequipped, or unworthy. They need a Barnabas to come alongside of them when no one else will. They need a Paul to tell them not to be ashamed of the Gospel.
Begin equipping ministers for generations to come. Pray about with whom to start. Ask them to meet weekly or simply invite them out for a meal. Get to know them.
As you live life with them, you will be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses so you can help mold them into effective ministers for the Gospel. Follow the steps above and watch God do wonderful things through your willingness to serve Him in this way.