At college we have a long list of books that we need to read. Ranging from really interesting to not so interesting, they include books on history, Bible commentaries and books to help us think critically about what ministry looks like in practice. We also read the Bible a bit.
Recently I’ve been reading a book called, ‘The Trellis and the Vine‘ by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne. I’ve actually owned it for ages, but never read it.
It really is a great book, and I would out it into the ‘really interesting’ category mentioned above. It says a lot about trainer/trainee relationships, and how trainees end up being imitators of their trainers. From this, it has helped me reflect on where I have been so far in my ministry, and why I now do things the way I do (mostly because my trainers taught me to do it that way).
The book speaks a lot about how to train Christian people for a lifetime of serving Jesus, and his people. The book suggests that just running endless courses for people is not enough, but training by your example is much better.
One bit in chapter 6 especially stood out to me.
“… to make real progress in helping the Christians in your congregation become ‘encouragers’, they need more than a six week course. They need the example of seeing it done; and they need the personal instruction and mentoring and prayer that addresses the spiritual issues at the heart of becoming an ‘encourager’. This takes time and personal attention – before, during and after the structured training opportunity.”
I’m still reading it. If you want a copy, Matthias Media sell it.