“Preach the word!” (2 Tim. 4:2) These simple words of encouragement and challenge from the apostle Paul to young Timothy are foundational to the calling of a church planter.
A lead church planter bears a high responsibility to communicate often and with clarity. Church planters often communicate through vision casting and the preaching of the Word, but I would argue that we also have the responsibility to speak clearly in training.
Many church planters, myself included, intend and plan to establish a multiplying church that will plant more churches in the future. But where will the next group of church planters and preachers come from? I would argue that they are currently in our churches. They’re in various other roles right now, but let’s call out the called and train up the next group of multiplying leaders!
As pastor of a young church plant, I have a strong conviction to train up preachers. By no means am I a preaching professor or great preacher, but what I have (and you have) can be passed on to those with a desire to communicate.
At Restoration Church, we have a simple process to train preachers in a three- to four-month lab format. It is not perfect; in fact, we tweaked the process a little bit with our current group.
Before preaching any sermons, we spend some time talking about hermeneutics (studying the Scripture) and homiletics (preaching). We want the guys to get their feet wet before being expected to communicate the Scripture in a sermon format.
Following the initial training, each of our guys will preach three times:
- Text of your choice (15 minutes)
- Randomly selected New Testament text (30 minutes)
- Assigned Old Testament text (30-37 minutes)
We try to stair-step the difficulty and time of the sermon to make sure we are developing good expositors of the Scripture.
One of the biggest keys for us is the feedback process. At each preaching lab, additional people will join us in the room. Initially we start with the wives of the preachers and our other elders. Eventually we add in the rest of our staff and leadership to give more feedback. Each person in the room will fill out a feedback sheet, which you can find here.
Immediately following the sermon, we ask for some positive feedback from the congregation. Then we ask for personal feedback from the preacher. At a later time, I will meet one-on-one with the preacher to offer feedback in a “sandwich” format – encouragement, improvement, encouragement.
In this process, we trust the Lord will affirm a calling to preach (or not) but, Lord willing, we will see some of these guys preach at our church, other churches or plant churches.
It’s never too early to start training new preachers, so I’d encourage you to develop of a process with your team.
Published May 23, 2022