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Evaluating our Experiences and Training is part of the Take Your Next Step into Ministry series that helps a person evaluate one's experience, knowledge and skills that are needed for an effective full-time or tentmaking ministry by going through a number of questions.
Get a piece of paper and write down at the top what ministry you think the Lord might be leading you to. Be as specific as you can but don’t be concerned if it is general like “cross-cultural missions.” As you go through this exercise, you will begin to discern areas that you need more information.
On that paper write down all the skills, knowledge, attitudes and spiritual disciplines one needs to be effective in carrying on that ministry. This is a great exercise for those who are in seminary. Many students take expensive courses without ever thinking what special training they need. The list might be long. Don’t let that stop you.
Some of the suggestions might have to do with the area of one’s personal character. That is fine. This is fine. Just jot them down in that category.
The list will continually be updated and adjusted. We should read and talk to others to increase our understanding of what a certain position might require. For example, we might request an hour with a cross-cultural missionary to learn more about what things he or she feels is important for effective overseas ministry. Do not just accept general answers.
Ask how well prepared they were for a certain task and how they could have been better prepared. Carefully interweave that knowledge into your own list. We will discover that we are fairly well prepared in some areas but needing much more training in other areas.
This list will help you focus on and prioritize what training you need. It will also be your list of prayer requests. “God if you want me to serve those people, I need You to help me replace my anger with your kindness and patience.” Think of this list as God’s training list for you. Below are a number of categories each with their own questions. They can help you better discern what areas in which we need further training. Add other questions to suit your situation.
What ministry skills will you need in your first four years of service?
What ministry skills have you gained through past experience?
What ministry skills are you now lacking?
What practical steps have you taken to acquire such skills?
Do you know of anyone who has such skills or experience that you could learn from?
How many times have you read through the Bible?
Have you learned and used the inductive Bible study method?
What Bible books have you spent more than 10 hours studying and meditating on?
About how many Bible verses have you memorized?
Mediation is a key to successful ministry (Joshua 1, Ro 12:1-2). In what ways have you brought meditation to be part of your own spiritual life?
What qualifications do you have to serve?
Are they accepted and esteemed by your possible host country?
Are there special programs that might enhance your effectiveness?
Have you figured a way to maximize your ‘free’ time to serve?
What have you learned from others who are now doing what you hope to do?
Have you discipled individuals at different levels of maturity?