By Susan Mires
WARRENSBURG—For return on investment, you can’t beat leadership training for pastors, believes Robert Collins, director of missions for the West Central Baptist Association. He has noticed, however, that one segment has not had adequate access to programs.
“There was a need for helping bivocational pastors with leadership training,” Collins said.
Of West Central’s 62 churches, about two-thirds are served by bivocational ministers. As a former bivocational minister, he knows the challenge of balancing the demands of a job with pastoral work, which leaves little time for squeezing in extra meetings. Collins contacted George Roach at the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) about offering intense, specialized training for the pastors.
Roach is MBC ministerial services specialist with an emphasis on smaller churches and leadership development. Pastors of smaller churches, those with fewer in 125 in attendance, value practical instruction, he said.
“They want something where they can spend a few hours, then can go and put it into practice the next day on the church field,” Roach said.
West Central offered the training Oct. 31, with three pastors from the association and four from adjacent Fellowship Baptist Association attending.
Roach talked about the call to ministry and invited each man to share his personal story of being called. Collins said that portion was especially inspiring.
“It’s always good to go back and visit those things once in awhile,” he said.
The pastors also took assessments for their spiritual gifts and personality types, looked at Biblical leadership examples and participated in team building exercises.
“George did a real good job with it and we’re looking forward to seeing the benefit in the churches that were involved with it,” Collins said.
Training ministers pays off by multiplying across the congregation, Roach said.
“The hope is they will pick up skills on how to do things, then they pass that along so the churches become stronger and more effective in the kingdom of God because of it,” Roach said.
West Central is already seeing the impact of training, Collins said. Earlier this year, a small, rural church hosted a leadership program for lay leaders. Now, membership is growing and the church is building a family life center.
“All of the training we can get for these guys, it benefits the church,” Collins said. “If it benefits the church, it benefits the association and the state convention. We’ll have stronger leadership and be on target for serving God.”
In addition to pastoral training, Roach can help churches with North American Mission Board training, such as Building Powerful Ministry Teams. Trained instructors are available throughout the state and can assist in a variety of settings, such as a church or an association.
“We’d love to do something for the churches, especially for their pastors,” Roach said.