Why training new leaders is so much fun
One of the difficulties of church planting is raising up quality new leaders. New believers often would like the status of being a leader, but many are unwilling to put the time and effort in to the training and practice required to be a good leader. Our solution? Project Joshua!
When Moses grew old and it was time for him to pass on, he appointed Joshua as his successor. However, the training and mentoring had been going on for years before this. In the ACT Churches (Associated Churches Thailand – those churches started by or connected to OMF) in South Thailand, we realized that this is very important, so as we as we started our new church leaders’ training scheme, we knew that this would have to be an important part of the process.
But the best part of Project Joshua? The fun that we have at the two-monthly training seminars!
Each trainee was selected by the existing church leaders, and a mentor was appointed for each trainee by the trainee’s church. The mentors give regular encouragement, prayer and opportunities for ministry experience. Every two months, the trainees and the mentors (about 25 people all up) come together come together for a training seminar that encompasses one evening and the next morning. The topics covered so far include – characteristics and disciplines of a Christian leader, visitation, following up new believers, leading small groups, and sharing simple Bible messages. We start by investigating the Biblical principles in each of these areas, but the real fun happens when the different table groups have to report their findings back to the whole group with a poster. Even better – later on we have hands-on practice sessions for different ministry skills. The trainees then present the results of their practice as a skit or drama. It’s amazing how much humour and creativity that a small group of people can fit into five minutes!
What has made Project Joshua come together so well? I can think of a few factors:
- The Bible is the foundation of the course, but it also has a very hands-on component. The trainees are expected to put what they learn into practice.
- The ACTS churches leadership committee discussed the training project for 18 months before we started – so all of the leaders in the churches are on-board.
- The facilitators are two Thai church leaders and an expat. missionary – so we have a mix of local Thai leadership along with a missionary with training in cross-cultural leadership. The three trainers get together a week before each training seminar to plan together what and how the seminar will be taught.
- The trainees appreciate the opportunity to receive training, mentoring, ministry experience and acknowledgement of their status as future leaders.
I’m not sure if Joshua had so much fun when he was being trained by Moses. But I’m sure he wished he did!