When Burrito Rollers Are Trained Better Than Ministry Leaders

What was your first ministry opportunity?

Maybe it was a chance to lead a small group. Perhaps you were asked to lead the ministry weekend. Someone might have even asked you to preach a sermon on Youth Sunday. 

Can you remember your first opportunity?

Now, let me ask you a probing question: how much did someone train you for that first ministry opportunity?

Typically, I discover that most people were given significant opportunities with limited training. Most testimonies reveal that the initial exposure into ministry failed to have clear guidelines, modeled expectation, intentional oversight, and constructive feedback. We put people into significant spiritual roles and assume that they will know what to do and not lead others astray.

I spoke with a young aspiring minister who said that he was given opportunities to preach, lead worship, and organize events and yet never received clear communication on how to do any of it. He was thrown in blind because he had potential, but he craved some oversight.

During his seminary training, he worked as a burrito roller at a local restaurant. I asked what his training entailed for such a job. After his initial interview and screening, he had to spend two days shadowing another roller before they would give him a chance. Then he was shadowed during his first few days of attempts and evaluated as he went.

A fast-food restaurant gave more intention to training a burrito roller than a church gave to preparing a preacher.

I wish that were the exception, but I believe it is the rule.

If I think through the opportunities given to me or those I have offered to others, it holds true. Some might believe it to be trial by fire, but I think it is more accurate to explain it as trial by neglect. We don’t do a great job of preparing people for ministry roles.

  • How do you prepare group leaders before you hand them the weekly responsibility of discipleship and care of members in your church?
  • What type of constructive feedback do you provide for those who teach God’s Word to your congregation?
  • What type of ongoing screening and training do you give to those working with the younger generations within your church?

I know that even with extensive training, some people might struggle or do things we all regret, but I think our more significant problem right now is that we are rushing to fill a position rather than slowing to form a person.

If you don’t have a process, that’s fine, but today can be a new day.

Think through the leaders in your church. How do you identify, train, and oversee them?

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

2 Timothy 2:2