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Christian Ministerial Training
"...He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He wanted, and they came to Him.
And He appointed twelve so that they might be with Him
[full time]
and so that He might send them to preach..."
Mark 3:13-14.
The four
Gospels of our New Testament give us a view on how the Lord Jesus prepared His 12 apostles for their leadership role, for them to continue the ministry which He had begun, the completion of which, Jesus said (in answer to their question of 'when' the end of the age would come) –
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations,
and then the end will come.
Thereby making them aware that there was no set 'date' but the completion of their world mission upon which the end of the age turned.
Matthew 24:1.
They certainly knew what His words "this gospel" meant, for they were the personal witnesses of His public preaching ministry, which they were to continue.
Please note that the term "apostle" used to describe the above Twelve was not then a reference to a similarly-named ministry gift of the Holy Spirit that was given later after Pentecost as a consequence of the completed Atonement of the Christ of God. Jesus did not invent this term. It was in generally used in Israel in His time for a representative sent out (such by as the Jewish Sanhedrin to check on the local synagogues), hence it's meaning –
ἀπόστολος / apostolos = delegate / ambassador, as Christ's whole church is meant to be today.
Christ's "this gospel" certainly did NOT mean a Tribulation-message about a coming millennium kingdom, as some so foolishly teach today!
picture that we are given in the Bible is that the Christ of God shared His own preaching lifestyle with them, and that in their third year He sent them out in twos to preach ahead of Himself. Unfortunately, because hindsight appears to give new insight, many now regard the 'gospel' ministry today as simply a proclamation of the crucifixion-atonement of the Christ, and so omit the fuller perspective which the Bible gives of it being the continuance of Christ's own public ministry of a corrective revelation of God's personal nature, in terms of which full salvation is opened to humanity's response.
"...for God so loved..."
John 3:16.
course, that was a vastly different situation then to what most churches face today, but there are certain principles embedded in the way Jesus prepared these men for their public ministry, from which we can and should learn today, if we are open to hear Him.
dominant influence in all theological and Bible training institutions today is academic practice that developed in training institutions since the medieval period. This has many benefits, but we need to remain open to grow beyond past practice, for the future of Christianity is far greater than its past in bringing the mission of the Christ in this world to its full completion, as referred in the quote above, and which was certainly part of the Apostle Paul's inspired perspective –
"And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,
to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ,
UNTIL we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ...
Ephesians 4:11-13.

The Prayer Factor As this was central to the ministry of Jesus, and so He embedded into those whom He trained to continue His ministry!  
own ministerial training methodology was to mix the practical with the theory from the start.
"...He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray" and "...He would withdraw to desolate places and pray"
"In these days He went out to the mountain to pray, and all night He continued in prayer to God."
"...He took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray"
"Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He finished,
one of His disciples said to Him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples'.
By "prayer" is not meant petition, or intercession to acquire a response from God.
It is a direct meeting with God in prayer, through practicing the primary command, at a direct personal level: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:34), by personal adoration of His character, which thereby profoundly alters attitudes at an unconscious level for the individual to be directly in-tune with God's own attitude on issues and so to respond as Jesus would then respond within the circumstance. This is an essential!

Matthew 14:23; Luke 5:16.
Luke 6:12.

Luke 9:28.

Luke 11:1.
So note: 1. Jesus selected the individuals for training;  
2. They were then to participate in His own ministry as part of their training;  
3. So that they would then be able to multiply that ministry.
The only reason for these first/foundation apostles being twelve was because their ministry was initially to the twelve tribes of Israel as a continuance of Christ's own ministry to Israel.
(The number 12 was not incidental, either of the 12 sons of Jacob son of Abraham, or the 12 princes of Ishmael son of Abraham [Genesis 17:20; 25:16]. To the ancients the number 12 represented the overseeing government of God, for God had divided their agricultural year into 12 moons/months, and so it held this significance in God's words to Abraham. It is from this that day and night were each divided into 12 parts, to give us our modern 24-hour day today.)
Jesus then gave
them detailed instructions concerning how to conduct their own ministry (to representative 'Israel' in Palestine),
and so it is recorded to teach us important principles involved –
1. They were to preach what He had preached and heal as He had healed (Matthew 10:7-8);
  "...preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is near'. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons"
2. They were not to charge for their ministry (Matthew 10:8);
  "Freely you have received, freely give"
3. They were not to finance themselves (Matthew 10:9-10);
  "Do not acquire gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, not a knapsack for the road,
nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food
4. Their starting point in each place was to be with those who had the best reputation (Matthew 10:11);
  "...whatever city or village you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there until you go out"
5. They were not to trust their audiences (Matthew 10:16-17).
  "...I am sending you forth like sheep in the midst of wolves.
Therefore be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men..."
Jesus also
NO 'how-to-be-happy'
prosperity gospel here!
warned them that the consequence of His ministry continuing in them would cause them conflict (Matthew 10:27,34) –
"What I say to you in the dark, say in the light; and what you hear in the ear, proclaim on the housetops.
...Do not suppose that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."
The huge cultural
gap between this situation, within which the above instructions were then given, and our present day context of ministerial practice makes it essential that any ministerial studies –
of Christ's ministry,
its background in the Old Testament, and
its implementation after the Spirit was given at Pentecost –
necessarily also involves a study of –
  (A) the relevant original language of the text, and associated culture (idioms and metaphors);
(B) and the historical circumstance at the time within which it was written.
Although most translations render
the Hebrew nâshaq as 'shall obey' or
'be ruled' by allusion from modern
Hebrew 'to kiss', the word more accurately reflects its ancient
Egyptian stem which means
'shall eat' which better accords
with its context.
(W. Chomsky 1969:38).
A widespread

An error that
illustrates the
importance of
historical context
translation error in Genesis can serve as an illustration of the importance of (B). In Genesis 41:40 there a Hebrew word nâshaq from the mouth of Pharaoh which occurs only once in all the Old Testament, so it is not possible to compare its context elsewhere. Because in modern Hebrew, (which is based on the medieval Mishna) that same word means 'to kiss', it then tends to be interpreted as such and translators then try to make some sense of it by interpreting it as 'submission' or to 'obey'. This is misleading, for at the time it was written, that word meant what it also meant in ancient Egypt, namely – 'to put to the mouth' or 'to eat', which then more accurately conforms to its given context (of Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dream to prepare for the coming famine in Egypt).
ministerial training today should include effective instruction in both the ancient Biblical Hebrew and Hellenistic Greek and its relevant history of the text's circumstantial origin – from the very beginning of any ministerial training process.

The  A  B
and  C
admission to ministerial training needs to be selective – as Christ did it. In other words, it should not be open to all and only open for admission to those whose practical local church behaviour is such as has already generated trust
in the candidates' attitude of faithful caring for God's people in relationships.
Academic intelligence and spiritual sincerity are simply not enough for spiritual leadership preparation.

The welfare
of God's people
Unfortunately this process of preparation will naturally tend to give pre-eminence to academic preparation and therefore this needs to run in parallel with preparation for direct practical personal ministry. To this end it would be wise to include within this first year of training (C) an intensive course on personal counselling, such as presented by Jay Adams in his book on nouthetic counselling 'Competent to Counsel' so that students are practically conversant with the kind of personal spiritual struggles of the future flock of God they are expected to lead, for Christian ministry is far more than presenting a sermon once a week..
This approach enables the ministerial student to become practically involved in the local church as part of its counselling ministry during continuing training.
After this groundwork is laid in the first year (by enabling an exegetical approach to Scripture and its practical implementation in ministry through personal counselling) the student is then more ready for theological training without that simply becoming an absorption of theological theory to produce just another 'theological sausage' of approved denominational thinking.
very useful introduction to the field of theology is contained in the first two lectures of Charles G. Finney's Systematic Theology, namely: Moral Law; and Moral Obligation. The concepts enunciated in these two provide a very useful introductory perspective to prepare the student to mentally comprehend theological aspects pertaining to God's essential nature and the Christian life.
Lectures on
Systematic Theology
by Charles Finney, 1878.
Rebuttal Factor
Because, as church history has painfully demonstrated, the precious truths given us in God's Word are frequently twisted off-centre, it is necessary for those in leadership to protect the Flock of God by rebutting the perversion of truth. Sometimes, academic accreditation requires an institution to use text-books which contain misleading statements. It is not enough to teach this an an alternative view! Misleading statements need more than simply correction, they need rebuttal, so that the path of the Christian Church retains its sharp focus to bring the believers to spiritual maturity for the completion of Christ's mandate to His Church.
'Christian' Fallacies
From this base then preachers/pastors will grow who speak in the Holy Spirit of truth directly to the hearts of their hearers.
Christ's Church Church Ministry Structure Christian Church Leadership

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