The Church's Responsibility to Raise Leaders
Leadership Training and Discipleship within the Local Church
I still remember the eagerness and zeal in my heart as a new convert to be trained. And yet God, in His sovereign plan, kept me back from pursuing my passion of attending seminary. Where would the training come from for a young man who desired to be effective in the church, and possibly enter full-time, vocational ministry? God’s design is that the local church participate in the training of leaders, who will serve Him and shepherd the church.
As Paul writes to Titus to help establish the churches on the island of Crete, he instructs him to “appoint elders in every city as I directed you” (1:5). To appoint means to “place someone in an official role or office.” Implicit in this instruction is the need to identify individuals who meet the qualifications outlined in the following context. Titus, in partnership with the rest of the churches, was to proactively and prayerfully evaluate and subsequently appoint the right kind of men to shepherd God’s people.
As a church, we too are called to do the same. The task of training is not primarily the job of the theological seminaries. This is first and foremost the job of the local church. Elders must be on the forefront of cultivating an atmosphere where young men can be groomed for service and leadership in the church. But the church, the rest of us, should also be cultivating an atmosphere of discipleship, where we are mutually investing into one another, so that the future leaders of our churches will surface. What a privilege, what a “grace” of God, that we may partner with Him, the eternal God of the universe, in the wondrous task of raising the future leaders of His church, whether here or around the world.