We Aspire to Train and Send
Pastor Oliver shares with us why training and sending is important to the church, and how we are doing so at Grace.
I was at a fire safety course with Eugene (Ministry Leader for the AV team) as part of workplace safety requirements for the church. Midway through, the trainer spoke about other courses available. We remembered that the Singapore government stresses continual education. We even realised that we both had not used our SkillsFuture budget. This scheme, and other plans show how the Singapore Government places importance on training our workers for the sake of the economy.
Importance of training in the church
What is the role of training in the church? One example we can look at is the Apostle
Paul. Paul did three things in the spread of the gospel and the church's expansion in the 1st century. Paul evangelises the lost. He then gathers these new believers into the local churches, discipling and building them up in the faith. And then Paul trains other leaders to do the same.
In 2 Timothy, Paul writes to his young protege in the faith, Timothy, whom Paul had discipled and trained. He gives a charge to Timothy to guard the gospel. How is Timothy to do so? Paul urges Timothy, "You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also." (2 Tim 2:1-2)
Timothy had heard the gospel from Paul and had believed in it. Many witnesses attested to this gospel of Jesus Christ. The trustworthy gospel that Timothy received was to be entrusted to faithful men in the local church he belonged to—men who were reliable and would hold fast to the truths of the gospel. These men are then to go on then to teach and train others. The church then sends these men out to follow in what Paul models: evangelise, establish and strengthen local churches and train others to do the same. The church has a responsibility to disciple and train men and women for the sake of the gospel.
Training at Grace
Grace Baptist Church seeks to be faithful in guarding and stewarding the gospel. To this end, we strive to train and send men and women for the work of the gospel. We aspire to develop, equip, and affirm men and women for gospel ministry in the local church and beyond. While we disciple and equip all believers in the faith, we also want to focus on men and women who demonstrate skill in shepherding, teaching and discipling others. Following the example of Paul, we want to guard the gospel. We want to steward the good news we received and invest in men and women who could, in turn, shepherd, teach and disciple others.
What are some ways we are doing so? Formally, we train men in the preaching lab, which we conducted last year. The preaching lab emphasised the handling and preaching of God's Word. This year we want to train men and women in our training groups. We will focus on helping them understand what a healthy church is and the roles and responsibilities of deacons and elders.
We also have the church internship programme. Under this programme, men and women are trained biblically and theologically and are apprenticed in the work of the ministry. Informally, we had Elder Associates for the past four years, which allowed for the Elders Team to identify, develop, equip, and affirm men as Elders. Also, we train our CG leaders to shepherd and teach their CGs.
All these training efforts are not merely for the good of Grace Baptist Church, though having a large pool of men and women who can shepherd, teach and disciple is good for the church's health. No, this work we do is not for ourselves. Paul and Barnabas were sent out for the good of others and the gospel's sake in Acts 13; we also desire to do the same. We hope that increasingly, we will be able to send the best and brightest among us for gospel ministry in the local church and beyond. We hope these men and women can reach others with the gospel, encourage and strengthen other local churches or perhaps be involved in a church plant. And then, in doing gospel ministry, also train others to do the same.
We already have seen some fruit in this area. Our interns spoke at the Youth Camp of another church in December last year, teaching and encouraging the young people with the Word. Our pastors and some leaders also preach and provide training for other churches. We had a member of the Missions Committee speak on Missions in Singapore at other churches at the end of last year. We are thankful to God for these opportunities. Join us in prayer for more opportunities and fruit as we send workers out for the sake of the gospel so that people might glorify Jesus Christ!
Post note: I do not think I have gotten any better at Fire Safety; I hope that Eugene is
better trained than I am!
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