The model for training gospel workers, developed by the Trust and others, recognises the importance of the local church in training, as well as the seminary. We call it partnership training.
Rather than seeing training in the local church as a placement from the seminary, it is a partnership. Both are seen as equally important and complementary, like twin tracks running side by side.
Partnership training is now the established pattern in Scotland, embraced by the training churches, training providers and by the emerging generation of gospel leaders.
One of the greatest benefits of partnership training is equipping people to preach and teach God’s Word and instilling in them deep convictions about godliness. While the seminary has an important role in this, the best place to learn to preach and teach God’s Word and grow in godliness is in the local church. Partnership training also gives people lots of practical experience of church and ministry, over a number of years.
There are many benefits to this model:
- An individual is better prepared for church leadership, simply because they have had much more training on the ground in the local church.
- It means the local church takes its responsibility to train seriously. Training cannot be delegated to the seminary. Training is a partnership between the local church and the seminary. That’s the way the seminary is now thinking and the local church needs to catch up.
- If the most important thing in ministry (not the only thing) is preaching and Bible teaching, this model trains people to do that and gives them plenty of experience. In this important area of training the primary responsibility rests with the local church, not the seminary.
- Investment in rigorous training in the short-term has considerable benefits in in the long-term as an individual is equipped for a lifetime of ministry in an increasingly tough and demanding environment.
- It is strategic at a national level. The spiritual challenges we face in Scotland are enormous. We need to pray with urgency that God will raise up a new generation of leaders. As God answers that prayer, investing in their training as a key priority. Our prayer is that the leaders we invest in over the next twenty years will be the kind of leaders that multiply ministry – training and planting. It takes time to train leaders who think like that and are equipped to do it. Think of it like this. In the next ten years if God were to raise up, and we were to invest in, 100 gifted leaders for the Church across Scotland, and if 50% of them had a vision for training and planting, the impact would be very significant.