Every week a church calls up, looking to hire a Free Grace pastor or minister.
And there aren’t any. Well, they are few and far between.
There are positions around the country, but few men to fill them.
And do you know what happens, next? The church hires someone they hope is at least Free Grace friendly whom they can train.
Finding qualified workers is a problem for both tiny Free Grace churches and large ones.
“Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest”(Matt 9:38).
Where will the workers come from? As far as I can see, there are two solutions.
First, churches must train up their own workers.
Every believer in your congregation has been given a spiritual gift. Use them. If a man shows some teaching ability, train him up. When Paul and Barnabas appointed elders, they found men in each respective church and set them to work:
When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed (Acts 14:23).
Likewise, Paul appointed Titus to do the same in Crete:
For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you (Titus 1:5).
Identifying, appointing, and commending local men to serve in their local congregation seems to be the norm in finding Christian workers. Although evangelists and missionaries were sent all over, we don’t find Biblical examples of a church in one province hiring an elder from a church in another province. Now, there is no Biblical prohibition against that practice. I am not saying there is. But the assumption seems to be that God will raise up men in each congregation. Before you go looking for a man outside your church, try looking for one inside it.
Second, men who have the gift of being a pastor-teacher should get some theological training and go to work.
Since there were no Christian seminaries for hundreds of years, we know that seminaries are not Biblically necessary. Workers were trained by their pastors and communities, in the context of the local church.
Take my word for it, as someone who spent many years in school, I assure you that most of your learning will occur in personal study, as you do the work of ministry, and as you carefully preach through the Word.
Still, it helps to get some basic training. We are living in an amazing time when it has never been easier to get theological training online. There are different Free Grace schools with different levels of accreditation that you can study through.
GES hopes to start a “Free Grace Boot Camp.” The idea is that a small group of men will come to Dallas and live together for a week. During that intensive week, they will learn basic Free Grace Theology, church management, and preaching. Every morning will be spent studying theology, particularly books of the Bible. Every afternoon the men will deliver dozens of five-minute sermons. Each man will get to preach several times, so that he will get used to, and understand the basics of, preaching and teaching.We hope that churches will send their deacons, elders, and ministerial candidates to get some basic training with us so they can become more effective, more quickly.
Is the Lord calling you to the harvest?