I had just begun to learn about discipleship in its practical aspects from a church planting course on Home Assignment. I had learned that we are not only to train the new believer the basics, but we were also to train each believer how to grow and effectively serve. As in most cases, workers were busy and didn't make time to disciple the new converts. We had great records for visitation, attendance and offering but not much on discipleship.
Some discipleship training took place when we took the new brothers and sisters along with us on visitation or evangelism. The Bible training was insufficient, however. I had only begun to think about what discipleship practically meant. I did not have a firm enough grasp to know or explain what the different stages of discipleship were or how we would train individuals in those stages. (More on discipleship training).
One of the things I now challenge missionaries to do is to gain an understanding of what one will say to a person in different circumstances.
- For example, what does one say to a non-Christian (evangelism)?
- What does one say to a very new believer?
- What would you do if you could meet a fairly new believer over a certain amount of time?
In order to discern our goals, we ask, "What do we want these believers to be like or be able to do after the 2 months of meeting?" We then devise a training program that will enable them to get there. Of course when one discovers cheaper and helpful material already available, then this can be used.
These are only some of the things we ought to be prepared for. As we think about the process, we can plug people in and more quickly move into effective ministry. Of course cultural and personal elements will change the character of the material but not its essential basis or purpose.
What about the area of leadership training and development? Next page