That said, I think it is worth taking a few moments out to think about training in general and to evaluate whether you are adequately trained for the tasks that you tackle throughout the week. You may be a leader within your church, a teacher, a musician, or you may serve in some other capacity. You be looking for ways to become more gospel-centric in your counsel to others, more practical in your teaching, more effective in your communication, and more compassionate as you actively serve people in your community. If you don't find that you are well equipped and confident, I'd encourage you to pursue training. The work that you do is too important not to be prepared to do it well.
I would also like to highlight three areas in which Shari and I are currently receiving training so that we will be better equipped to lead people. We're very thankful for the intensity with which our church approaches its mission and that this is reflected in the amount of resources and energy that go into equipping our leaders.
City Group Leaders
Next week we will finish up the final session of our new city group leader training which has focused on how to pastor people in community and lead them into mission around the gospel. This training is not only extremely beneficial in its theoretical aspects, but it is imminently practical as we are in the process of beginning a new city group in our neighborhood in LaSalle. We will share more about this in the weeks ahead as it develops.
Sixteen years ago today, I asked Shari to marry me. Shortly after that we began premarital counseling. Sixteen years later I can still say that every minute of that training and mentoring was worth it, and we probably could have used even more. Now it is our turn to invest in young couples who are preparing for their marriages. We have received the "classroom" portion of that training already and are awaiting the live counseling session part. The training is so good in helping to frame marriage around the gospel that I anticipate huge dividends not only for the pre-marrieds that we counsel but also for those who are already married and for our relationship too!
Though Shari is not going through this training, she certainly plays a huge part in my qualification and capacity to take on this responsibility. After serving in my current role in the church for a little over six months we were asked to begin working through the elder process. This is a very deliberate series of tasks and evaluations designed to function alongside the normal life of serving and leading within the church to prepare men to lead the church. As Paul wrote to Timothy so many years ago, it is an honor to be able to serve the church in this way and I am equally thankful for the training I am receiving so that I will be able to serve the church well.
As you reflect on your own training experiences and needs, will you please take some time to pray for us in ours? We desire to make the biggest contribution we can to the work that God is doing through his church and we want to learn and grow so that we are able to play the part well. If you would like any ideas or help with respect to what type of training to pursue when it comes to gospel, community, or mission, please don't hesitate to ask!