The Ministry Training Strategy (www.mts.com.au) is an awesome and much needed part of the Australian Christian landscape. But… most people think the ‘T’ in MTS is about being a Trainee… they think it’s the Ministry Trainee Strategy… and they’re wrong.
MTS is very keen on young men and women doing a two-year full-time hands-on word-ministry placement before further theological training and/or Pastoral Leadership roles. The MTS Movement wants to see thousands of people do these Traineeships. But MTS is not primarily about Trainees… the ‘T’ is MTS is really the Ministry Trainer Strategy.
MTS is about young men and women becoming Ministry Trainers – for the rest of their life.
Let me put this another way… if you were an MTSer and you’re not currently training (or recruiting) someone into full-time gospel-leadership… you’ve stopped being part of the Strategy, you’ve missed the point of MTS… that you’re never meant to leave, you’re never meant to stop calling others into full-time gospel-leadership. Your MTS involvement was never meant to end.
Are you a trainee who dropped out, or are you a trainer who’s still part of the strategy?
p.s. If you do want to get back on the Trainer “horse”, grab some keen Christians from your ministry and come along to the MTS Mission Minded Conference in Sept 11-13 2015.
It is common for Christians to make a call for people to get involved or sign up to serve or even to give because there is a great need.
And there is a great need!
However, if the need is the only basis you ever use for that call you will usually get only average responses. When things are simply “needs” they only need simplistic solutions. Stop gaps. Temporary fixes.
However, when you call people to be involved in something massive, something’s that will matter and make a difference, you might get fewer people, but you will get more invested people.
It’s the difference between, “hey, we really really need Sunday school teachers or else the class can’t run” and “hey, there are 10 kids you are like sponges every Sunday, and you could be one of the people they thank God for putting in their life when they are 60 years old.”
Those of us “in ministry” often talk about moving people from spectators to playing on the field. We want people to move from simply attending, to being part of church; involved, giving, committed.
But have you realised what your asking for?
What we’re really asking for is “investment”. We want people to invest in gospel ministry; invest their money, their time, their lives!! And investments are risks. We’re asking people to risk their time, their money, their energy, their worldly opportunities… for Jesus… in the way we suggest.
That might not seem like a risk for you (you in full time ministry already). But don’t forget what type of risk it is to those you’re recruiting.
No matter what it is you’re recruiting people to help you do, you’re selling an investment in Jesus. For some, that’s a huge risk… Understand that and you understand why people find it hard to commit to “simple” things.
…it’s only cool until you know how its done.
Every kid who’s seen a magic trick starts imagining themselves as a magician. That’s why toy stores sell those starter-magic kits. But if they sold so many, wouldn’t there me so many more magicians?
The reality is, as soon as a kid realises that the magic trick is more trick than magic, they quickly lose interest. Doing magic is only cool when it’s amazing. When you’re just hiding a card in the other hand, it’s boring.
Inviting young men and women to consider a lifetime of gospel ministry is a bit like that. They see you doing “impressive” and “amazing” Christian ministry…. they hear the bible knowledge and wisdom… wow! But when they start doing it, they soon realise that ministry is hard work, taking hours of preparation time, years of just reading the bible one your own and with others. Regurgitating the same wisdom you’ve been given over the years. It loses it’s shine.
Which is sad, because ministry really is the closest thing to real magic in the end. By the grace of God, we see people move from death to life. God uses us to raise the dead, proclaim forgiveness of sins, melt hearts of stone, rejoice for eternity. Amazing.
One of the common ways which those of us in christian leadership fail is in our communication. We communicate ideas and big pictures of things that are clear in our head, however… our hearers only get a fuzzy idea of what we’re saying.
One of the ways to improve anything you’re communicating is by spelling out some of the potential consequences. For example:
“I’d like you to join our kids team… you’re going to miss-out on Sunday sleep-ins ’till 10am for the rest of the year.”
“I’m glad you’ve repented of this sin… you’re going to need to tell James and say sorry to him too.”
“This is going to be a big responsibility… I need to make clear that if you fall into gross sin or ignore your responsibilities, it will damage a lot of people’s trust and there might be cause for public rebuke.”
Put yourself in their shoes, and imagine the the things they’re going to experience… make it clear because it’s your vision about their life.
Some Christians will “humbly” say they can’t do this or they can’t take on that because they feel they don’t have the required skills. This presents an opportunity to pastor them:
- Jesus designed them with gifts to serve the body – maybe they do have those gifts – they just don’t know it yet?
- Jesus uses people to get his work done. It’s not your work, it’s Jesus’ work.
- People are too important to not let some things happen. Love for people drives us to do things we don’t feel equipped to do.
- Do parents feel equipped to be parents? No!
- This is an opportunity to trust God more than your trust your skills.
- Does this display a human-centric view of service and Christianity? Does God need you to be good-enough to serve him? No!
- Are you potentially afraid of what might happen? If it goes badly? If it goes well?
Some people just do the ministry their given.
Some people can do the ministry and they recruit people to expand their ministry.
Some people recruit recruiters. They find other people who will ask other people to join them in that ministry. When you recruit recruiters, they give them a big field to run in, they expect them to have their own team of people who help them.
This is one of those gifts Paul would suggest we should desire for ourselves.