Deeply engaging with a group of leaders and the Word of God
How did Jesus raise up a group of disciples who would “turn the world upside down”? Our Lord walked and talked with the twelve. He asked intriguing questions. He required them to act and pushed them to reflect. He pressed for transformation. He sent them out to do the same.
The overall approach
Mentoring+ Multiplication+ Immersion in a Book of the Bible
In any given country, our partners select a small group of national pastors who will be able to train others as well. We equip these TNTers (Trained National Trainers) for four years, traveling to be with them two to three times a year. Each year, we provide a total of about two weeks of in-depth training. These pastors, in turn, pass on the training to other groups of pastors and church leaders, a 2nd generation. Often the training spills over to a 3rd generation.
The training is…
- Transformational (not merely informational)
So what’s it look like “on the ground”?
Here are 10 distinctives that you’d observe at any of our training times.
- Relationally-rich. Tons of interaction. Q&A. Our trainers go as learners as well as teachers. Life-on-life. We end up falling in love with the guys we’re equipping. We become friends, brothers and co-workers in the gospel.
- Small numbers. The only way to really have a relationally-rich experience is to keep it small. The ideal group has 10-15. No more than 20. Small=lots of mentoring opportunities.
- Lots of time. We meet with the same group for 4 years. We’ll meet 2 or 3 times per year—up to a total 2 weeks each year.
- Target: transformation. We’re not simply looking to download information—we’re going for life change. We take time to respond to God’s Word.
- Software, not hardware. We don’t do buildings or infrastructure. Local partners provide that. We bring the software…the teachers, the curriculum and the methods. Keeps the costs low.
- Keeping it simple. Typically during each training week, we dive into one book of the Bible and swim around in it for several days with a group of godly men and women. What’s not to like about that!?!
- Learner-focused. We remind ourselves that “what is learned is more important than what is taught.” Getting through the material isn’t the point. We build in flex time to make sure they get it…and respond to what the Holy Spirit is doing. Sweet times of spontaneous worship and prayer.
- Target: multiplication. We’re not just equipping pastors—we’re equipping trainers of pastors. That’s a big difference. We and our partners choose senior-level pastors. We call them men of influence, or TNTers (Trained National Trainers). Looks like Paul’s training strategy in 2 Timothy 2:2.What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (ESV)
- Accountability. By late afternoon, everybody’s ready for a nap—not much more learning is going to happen. So we use that time to get reports from the TNTers. How did their trainings (the so-called 2nd generation trainings) go…what worked and what didn’t. We collect some stats. Most importantly, what did they see God do?
- Partnerships. We won’t start a TNT group without two key sets of partners—
- an in-country national partner who has high credibility, knows the lay of the land, and who shares the same vision. Has a deep level of ownership.
- mission partners in North America, Europe or Asia. Lots of individuals plus a few churches with ownership as well. Anchor churches adopt a TNT group and walk with us for the 4 years….sending along prayer, money and their pastor. We invite the pastor to teach with our team, usually once a year.