Training Materials – School of Ministry


For the past 12-13 years I have run a yearly ministry training scheme in each church I have been the Senior Minster of. The materials on this page are some of the fruits of those labours.

I would never have called myself a trainer – I was much better as a preacher. I would prefer to stand up the front and simply lecture – so much easier. However people learn in so many ways, and participation in the process lends itself to a much greater depth of knowledge and understanding. So these courses attempt to help people be involved in the training process, with greater and lesser success. Whilst they proved useful and effective in some ways, they also have proven too rigid, following older patterns and methods which may prove less practical or helpful in today’s climate.

As such they will gradually be re-written over the next year or so to make them more inclusive, engaging, and stimulating and to involve the participants in constructing knowledge.


“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13

The Bible says in numerous passages and in an overall thematic way:

  • That God has given people to his church to be equippers! We use different words to distinguish roles but in the end we are to be makers of disciples, and some are gifted especially to this task.
  • That task is to prepare and teach God’s people to be ministers of the gospel
  • To do the work that God has planned and prepared for each person

My belief is that every minister is to be an equipper – a trainer of disciples – to help a church to be consistent with and obedient to God’s plans for his people, for his church. We know that his plan is to bring all his people into the kingdom and we also know he has made us an integral part of that – he has equipped his people with gifts and abilities to proclaim the gospel and to support the ministry.

So the minister’s role is to teach and preach and to lead in such a way that they equip the church to do the work of ministry – in some respects to work themself out of a job (at least in some areas of the church). There is no need for a minister to have a finger in every pie – in fact the best result would be for the minister to concentrate on their areas of giftedness – often that is in teaching and preaching, and leading the church, and to have little knowledge of the day-to-day things happening in many areas of the church. That suggests of course that a church continues to grow to such a degree that the idea of one person keeping an eye on everything would be laughable.

Two Pictures of Church

How many people can you be friends with – really be friends with? How many people can you minister to? Try and count those you know who are more than just basic acquaintances.

                                     (how many?)

Why this many?

Despite the fact that we each have a different number of friends and acquaintances and different capacities in the numbers of people we can deal with the reality is that there is a limit. At one church I worked in, when we started one person wanted to befriend my wife and I – but they asked us if we were needy or had problems? The reason? Because they had reached their limit of needy people they felt they could help. I’m not sure whether that’s a good way to look at it but it at least acknowledges that there are limits.

Jesus chose 12 men to be his disciples – why?

On the one hand they represent the 12 tribes of Israel and the new covenant.

But from a purely practical point of view Jesus needed to spend the majority of his time teaching and training and simply being with a small group – between 12 and 70 disciples. Whilst he ministered to many people he concentrated on the 12, and to a lesser extent the 70.

  1. One way of “doing” church is the old English style – though not limited to England by any means. In that model there is one minister – the priest – who does the “real” ministry. He knows everyone, visits every family regularly, knows all the details of every family in his head – birthdays, names, hobbies and so on – he baptizes, confirms, marries, buries every person and has a personal stake in the lives of his parishioners. His life revolves around ministry to the village – cradle to grave. How many can he deal with – a few hundred? It’s an authority model where the parishioners agree that he has authority over them – they come to his church, he looks after them spiritually. Church is the community coming on Sundays and to festival days, catechism work among the youth and relief for the poor. In this church the one man is gifted and skilled in all areas – where he is unskilled the church falters. The Bible is clear that we find fulfilment in serving – how many people in this church are fulfilled? It may be a solidly evangelical and caring church, but it is not following the Biblical model!
  2. Another way of “doing” church is with every member as the ministry team – the priesthood of all believers. In today’s society and church structure, if one person can minister to approximately 70-120 people – which may be doubtful – then how many can a whole church of ministers minister to? In this church the skills – and more importantly the gifts of the community are used to promote the purposes of God’s kingdom. The skilled and gifted evangelist evangelises; the skilled and gifted teacher teaches; others lead, administer, proclaim, plant churches – the many by their gifts and passions given by God, serve. And the many are fulfilled as each one lives by God’s design.

The aim of the School of Ministry material is to facilitate building churches that follow the Biblical model of the priesthood of all believers!


You are welcome to download and utilise the material. Please be honest and acknowledge where the material comes from. If you have suggestions/thoughts on improvements I would welcome them – as much as I plan to modify them it’s a long process and has the inherent difficulty that a lot of it involves material that needs to be imparted. So I need to work on how to make that process interactive and involve different learning styles.

I am also looking at writing further courses and would welcome thoughts on the sorts of short courses needed by church members.

Further resources

I will also be posting links to other training material (mostly books and paid for courses) which I have found to be especially helpful.


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