Prov 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This passage is not a promise, but it is a principle. If you want your child to do something when he is old, you must train him to do it when he is young.
The only other time in the Bible that we see the word “train” used in the context of training someone to do something is in Gen 14:14. “And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.” These servants were able to fight because Abram had trained them.
In Prov 22:6, parents are instructed to train their children. This is what you do while you still have your children at home. In Gen 14:14 Abram trained his servants “born in his own house.” In both cases, the training was done at home. The responsibility to train those in your own home is undeniable. Parents cannot leave this work to others. You say, “But what about their Sunday school teachers or Bible Club teachers?” They teach; you train.
With this said, we can apply these verses on training to certain things we do here at church. The reason is that our church is essentially like our house and our members are like our children or like Abram’s servants born in his own house. We think of each other as “our church family.” Thus, those of us who have experience in the ministry can and should train others whom God desires to use in the ministry.
To work effectually, we must be trained to do the things God wants us to do. The ways to train God’s children are recorded in the Bible. We are to:
Train by example – Mk 1:16-20 – Jesus trained his disciples to become fishers of men by taking them with him. He said, “Come ye after me.” And they “followed him.” Men have said that the ministry is not taught; it’s caught. One of the best ways to learn how to do something well is to go with someone who knows what he’s doing. In Acts 16:1-5, Paul took Timothy with him. You see references to Timothy in Acts 17:14-15; 18:5; 19:22; and 20:4. Eventually, Timothy was ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians (see the postscript after the second epistle to Timothy). Imagine how much he learned from Paul by just traveling with him and serving the Lord with him.
Train by instruction – Acts 19:8-10 – in Ephesus, Paul “separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.” During that two year program, “all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus.” Evidently, those disciples were not only receiving “classroom” instruction, but they were going out and preaching the way that Paul was teaching them, so that the word of God spread.
Train by entrustment – 2 Tim 2:2 – Paul wrote to Timothy, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” To “commit” is to give in trust; to put into the hands of another. Timothy had to commit what he had learned from Paul to faithful men. But it didn’t stop with them. They had to, in turn, teach others also. Today, we benefit from what Paul taught Timothy, that Timothy taught faithful men, that faithful men taught other faithful men, who eventually taught us.
Conclusion: if you want to learn the ministry, you need to learn from the example of other men by serving the Lord with them. It is my sincere desire, as soon as this social distancing settles down, for Randy, Tony, and I to take individual men with us to preach the gospel. Lord willing, you will learn to sow the seed and reap in the harvest well enough that you can teach other men, the same way that we’re able to teach you, by example. For some of you, your training must also include instruction. We are blessed with good discipleship material, a wealth of information on our website, and TBDI to give you sound instruction in the word of God and in preaching and teaching the Bible. For those who are faithful men, able to teach others also, we hope to train you so that you can pass this stuff down to the next generation of faithful men. Effectual working requires training.