First in priority is character development. The basic qualifications of a pastor in I Timothy and Titus require godliness. Most failures in the pastorate are because of a weakness of character. A major portion of the training process must be aimed at developing godly character. A major portion of the training process must be aimed at developing godly character. This requires “life-on-life” relationships, struggling through situations together in real time. It must be a deliberate and planned part of the whole training process. This is the most important of the three legs.
The second leg of the training stool is skills. To say a man is “trained” when he possesses only head knowledge, is a contradiction of terms. Therefore, a major portion of the curriculum of any credible training program must have hands-on, real-life development of ministry skills. It takes more than a lecture in a classroom to train a man to preach. It takes more than a lecture in a classroom to train a man to preach, teach, counsel, evangelize, disciple, visit, marry, and bury. This leg requires shoulder-to-shoulder ministering together.
The third leg of the stool is academic study. As servants of the Lord, our working capital is truth. Unless we produce men who are solid in what they believe, they will eventually cave in to the pressures of heresy and apostasy.
Another way to summarize this is: Head, Hands and Heart. The traditional western approach in training men is heavily weighted toward the head. Skills training and character development often take a back seat. Three-legged stools need all three legs.
• The valedictorian without character may be a fraud.
• The skillful leader without truth could end up being a false prophet.
• Godly character without ministry skills retards effectiveness.
The biblical model of leadership training must develop all three. Jesus set the pace. It is really quite simple and cost effective to follow the example of Christ. He undoubtedly had His curriculum planned the day He called his disciples from the lakeside. Instead of writing on a whiteboard he engraved theology on their hearts in the classroom of life. Instead of talking about ministry he showed them how. By the time He left them, they were prepared for the most important work on earth…. and he had trained them to train others. He was the master mentor.
Doing it like Jesus requires all three legs of the stool.