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Training church leaders: to meet the great need

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

by Chris Goree, CEO, Entrust

Some of my earliest childhood memories of church include listening to the pastor and daydreaming about how I would prepare a sermon and preach. I naively thought everyone in the congregation was similarly engaged!

As I grew, I often wondered if the Lord would call me to serve and lead in a local church as a pastor. I saw the importance of the roles of the pastor and church leaders in faithfully teaching the Bible, shepherding a congregation and helping the people of God carry out our responsibilities in the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. (Matt. 28:18-20, Matt. 22:36-37)

Instead of serving a local church as a pastor, the Lord has called me to serve pastors and church leaders in the global church through the ministry of Entrust. Many pastoral leaders throughout the world lack access to training that equips them for their church ministries, and God has called me to serve by helping meet those needs.

Why train leaders? The global church’s need for Christian leaders is great.

While it doesn’t often make the news – the global church is growing rapidly. There is a significant need for more trained leaders within the body of Christ. Over two million pastoral leaders serve the church worldwide today, but only 5% have had training for pastoral leadership. There are 50,000 newly baptized believers every day. For every 50 of these new Christians to have just one pastoral leader, the global church would need to train 1,000 more leaders each day. Let that sink in for a moment. These new leaders, thousands of them, plus the millions currently striving to lead with little to no training, all need access to ministry training.

Equipped, biblically trained leaders are necessary for the health of young and growing churches all over the world. Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:18-20) As God graciously leads thousands around the world to faith in Him, many of these new believers obey Christ’s call to continue making new disciples, but have few resources to equip them for the task.

Our brothers and sisters in Christ are responding to the call – but many need opportunities to be trained on how to “make disciples” and how to “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Without training, these leaders are susceptible to syncretistic and non-biblical philosophies. The congregations and people they shepherd depend on these pastoral leaders to point them toward truth. The leaders need equipping for that task.

Why would a parachurch ministry train church leaders? The bridesmaids support the bride.

At Entrust, our vision is: “Multiplying leaders for multiplying churches.” Our very DNA has us programmed to serve churches by equipping leaders. In the apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, he described the roles of various parts of the body of Christ, “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature...” (Eph. 4:12-13)

At Entrust, our ministry is to equip the equippers, developing leaders who will help new believers mature. Just as Paul, Timothy and Silas traveled to various churches to train, support and equip, we come alongside churches and church leaders to support them in their calling. We work to help indigenous leaders learn to train others. Our model is 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”

Scripture refers to the church as the bride of Christ. As a parachurch organization, we see our role like that of a bridesmaid. On the day of a wedding, bridesmaids provide support, help and encouragement to the bride. Likewise, Entrust provides support, help and encouragement to local churches and the global church.

Church leaders around the world need training materials and instruction to equip them to serve their congregations in biblically faithful ways – and developing materials and training systems takes time. Entrust and other ministries that come alongside the church have the opportunity to specialize in developing biblical and culturally relevant resources to meet those needs so that local ministers can be equipped to teach and care for their congregants.

As a leader at Entrust, I seldom make hospital visits and do not take communion to people who are unable to leave their homes. While I would enjoy serving the body in this way, I am instead called to serve ministers and leaders who are shepherding their own local congregations. It is a comfort to know our organization can support and help these leaders as they teach the word of God and disciple and care for the people in their churches.

Years ago, when I was called into vocational Christian ministry, the Lord highlighted the Scripture Psalm 105:1, “Give thanks to the Lord. Call on His name. Make known among the nations what He has done.” At the time I assumed that God was calling me into the pastorate to live out the role I had envisioned as a child. Instead, God has led me to join the parachurch ministry of Entrust, helping the nations know what God has done, through equipping church pastors and leaders in over 70 countries.

Why train leaders? Because well-trained leaders can effectively equip the saints to carry on our responsibilities to fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment – until our Lord returns.

Chris Goree

Listen to the Entrust Equipping Leaders podcast.

Episode 1: In our hurting world, why focus on leadership training?

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