My wife and I moved to Kansas City to plant a church for one very specific reason: to train men to be pastors in our church. Yes, we desire to reach our community with the gospel. Yes, we are forming mission partnerships around the world for church planting. Yes, we want to disciple families that God sends to us. The primary reason we came to Kansas City, though, was to train pastors. We believed that there were men here who would need not just theological training, but pastoral, leadership, and missional training as well. They would need humbled, broken, and built up. They needed encouraged, equipped, and launched. That was our desire.
At Emmaus KC we have a residency called Train. Train is a 2-year program, which primarily spends the first year on the man and the 2nd year on abilities. Each month the men in our residency read books and write papers on that month's topic. Our monthly Train meetings include guest lecturers on the topic and discussion / debate on their understanding of the topic. Our goal is to see them thinking biblically, missionally, pastorally, and critically well. The residents also come to our elders meetings and sit around the table with us, listening to our discussion, being asked their thoughts by our elders, and having our decisions explained to them. Most of them would tell you this is the single most beneficial part of the residency because it allows them to see a pastor’s heart for his church and the decision processes behind leading a church. (More will be said on this in a future post.)
We believe that all men, whether they desire to be pastors or are simply husbands and fathers, need training in 6 key areas. Men who desire to be pastors must then learn to apply these 6 areas to a whole other section of life, a larger family -- their church.
6 Musts in Training Men
1. Train men to be pure.
I have been at two churches were the pastor had to resign due to adultery. I have personally walked the journey of sexual addiction and had to confess it and work through it with others, including my wife. Sexual addiction is a sin that seeks to destroy men, families, and churches. Train your men to be pure. There is freedom!
2. Train them to be theological.
Right theology is a must whether leading a home or a church. Theology shapes all of a man’s thinking, standards, and values, whether he recognizes it or not. Theological beliefs affect what truths men teach their sons through bedtime stories each night and what truths they teach their churches through sermons each week. A man cannot love his wife as Christ loved the church, nor father his children as our heavenly father does us, if he doesn’t know God rightly through his word.
3. Train men to be pastoral.
In many ways husbands are pastors to their wives and fathers are pastors to their children. Biblically, a husband/father is called to lead his family spiritually; to instruct, correct, teach, and care for. If men would learn to be pastors of their families, then they would teach their children the ways of God patiently, they would have compassion for their wife when she is struggling with fear, and they would take family devotion seriously; embracing the call to raise their family to love God. These same pastoral traits are musts for men who pastor churches.
4. Train men to be missional.
Your men are missionaries. It is impossible to truly hold right theology and not be a missionary. They are missionaries in their homes, workplaces, and neighborhoods. They need to think like missionaries, give like missionaries, and share like missionaries. Train them to do so. Train them to think about others, to see relationships as gospel opportunities, and to sacrifice of themselves for the glory of God in salvation of others.
5. Train men to be humble.
A man must learn humility. The gospel is a message of humility. It’s a message of a God who humbly served to the point of death for sinful humans. It’s a story of men and women who must humbly come to the cross admitting that they cannot fix themselves and they are desperate for Jesus. It’s the story of men humbly instructing their children, humbly laying themselves down for their wives, and humbly leading and following those in their workplaces. When a man embraces humility, he will be forgiving with his wife, patient with his child, correctable when wrong, and teachable in all things.
6. Train men to be teachable.
A man who is not teachable is a dangerous man. Men make mistakes. Men sin. Men don’t know everything. We should be teachable. We should not only allow others to teach us, we should look for others to teach us, hungering after the knowledge and wisdom that can be shared. Train your men to seek out teachers, who will instruct them and coach them. A teachable man is a usable man.