Calling and Passion are Not Enough
By Brad Widstrom
Several weeks ago, I watched the hostage situation unfold in Paris. It was tragic in so many ways: four were dead and 15 more were being held at gunpoint. I was struck by the comments made by the TV talking heads related to the extent and level of training undergone by both the hostage taker and those responding to the situation. “Multiple hours of intentional training.” “Knowledge” . . . “values” . . . “attitudes” . . . “behaviors” . . . “skills.” One man committed to taking life and creating terror in order to promote his ideology. The other group called to preserve, protect, and enhance the lives of those they serve. Both trained and equipped to fulfill their task. Thankfully the calling, passion, and training of the police officers equipped them to end the situation without the loss of any more lives.
So, if training is so important for increasing the effectiveness of these women and men focused on protecting the external body, is it not even more important for us called to preserve, protect, and enhance the life of the soul? The results of our calling stretch far beyond the temporalities of this earthly life. We answer a privileged calling as we labor and serve with eternity in mind.
I’ve heard the arguments against this emphasis on training. “Don’t Paul and Jesus tell us that the Holy Spirit does the real work?” “What about the four passages in Scripture that promise believers special ministry gifts from the Holy Spirit?” “Why would God call me to this task yet not equip me to be successful when I sacrificially pursue it?” And even, “Didn’t that Widstrom guy tell me in his last post that what matters most is faithfulness?”
Yes, these are all true. But training and mentored experience increase our kingdom effectiveness multifold. Jesus himself modeled this when he discipled—read trained—his 12 whom he called as his apostles. He spent months and even years with them, changing and increasing their knowledge, values, attitudes, behaviors, and skills. He was not content to merely call and send. Jesus knew that more would be accomplished if these “unschooled, ordinary men” were equipped and trained through intentional time spent in the University of Jesus (Acts 4:13; Mark 3:13, 14).
Most likely those of you reading my words already agree with this. Otherwise you probably would not be on the LeaderTreks site. You already understand that calling and giftedness are not enough. But maybe your training is in your past and you feel you need no more. Even my son-in-law, after nine years in the Marine Corp—over half as an Embassy Security Guard and FAST team member—engaged in three months of full-time additional training before assuming his role on the security force at Quantico.
Training must be ongoing. Do you need to seek additional equipping in order to increase your effectiveness? Or have you become content and complacent, thinking you’re fully trained? There are many additional training resources you can still pursue: reading, workshops, additional college or seminary training, and even training websites and resources such as this.
What about those you work with, those who serve alongside you or under your leadership? A key part of your role is to equip them—both the adults and the students you have been given the sacred responsibility to minister with or lead. The role that many of you fill as pastor and teacher is “to equip his people for works of service” (Eph. 4:12). This is a role based on calling and gifting, not based on serving in an official pastoral position—no “but I’m not a pastor” excuses allowed. Are you finding time to train your volunteers and staff? Are you guiding them towards resources and opportunities?
What about your own family? You may not be part of a house church, but you have a congregation in your home with whom God wants you to share your gifts, leadership, and expertise. It reminds me of a recent article in the sports section of the Denver Post, talking about the family legacy of two quarterbacks. Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck are both sons of NFL quarterbacks whose legacies we see on the field week after week. What article could be written about the legacy we pass down to our families?
Training is a critical part of ongoing ministry effectiveness. Join me in this new year with a renewed commitment to pursuing our own additional training and to creating opportunities for those within our sphere of influence.
At LeaderTreks, our hearts beat for youth workers. If you are looking to continue your own or your team’s development and training, we would love to partner with you. We have opportunities and events for all levels of youth worker training.
About the Author
The LeaderTreks Blog is proud to share the hard-earned wisdom of student ministry leaders from many different backgrounds and professions. From time to time, we will feature guest blog posts from writers other than our regular contributors. We include these posts to provide additional perspectives and insight that we’re sure will help develop you and your ministry… Read More