The fault is not all theirs. Churches love to train people. We hold evangelism training, discipleship training, Bible study training, and small group training. I have even seen churches that offer trainer training. They don’t call it that, but essentially, they are training people to train people.
And what happens with all this training? We end up stuck on the train tracks. There is lots of noise, lots of commotion, and even lots of movement, and generally, it is all in one direction.
This isn’t all bad, of course. Such training helps a church get from Point A to Point B. But it doesn’t do a whole lot of good for people who aren’t on the train. And if someone tries to get off the train at times other than the designated stops, well, things get very messy and painful.
So training is helpful, but only to a point. How often have you talked with people in the church who say they want to go out and serve people, but they simply don’t have the time. But as you talk further, you find out they are involved in two or three different training sessions and Bible study groups every week. And they are convinced that while they will eventually help and serve people, right now they just need a little bit more training.
They often view these training programs as open doors, as opportunities that were sent from God at just the right time to fill in a void they were experiencing in their own life before they had the confidence and knowledge to go out and serve.
We have all seen it happen. You see a need in a certain part of town, but you are too nervous to start doing something because of lack of training, or some fear about how to handle a certain type of person you might meet, or question you might encounter. And just about that time, you discover a seminar, conference, or training session that will meet that specific need in your life. So you pay the money and attend the training.
But that’s where it ends. You wasted dozens of hours and the $129 registration fee, and ended up no closer to actually accomplishing anything in the world.
On the Job Training
This is why Jesus never really did any formal training with His disciples. It was all “on the job training.” Sure, He taught and instructed them, but it was almost always on the way to something Jesus was going to do, or as a debriefing for something He had already done. Eventually, He just kicked them out the door with a pair of shoes and a shirt, and said, “Come back in a few weeks and we’ll talk about how it went” (Luke 10).
I wonder what Jesus would have said to some of the common objections:
Disciple: “I don’t know what to say!”
Jesus: “You’ll figure it out.”
Disciple: “But what if I say the wrong thing?”
Jesus: “So what if you do?”
Disciples: “Well, their eternal soul is on the line.”
Jesus: “Let me worry about that.”
…and so on.
So what about you? Do you feel like you need some more training? Good. Jesus is waiting out there on the road.