When we talk to pastors in the United States we often here that they do not have time to commit to training pastors overseas. I understand the feeling, having been a solo pastor myself for two years. Bottom line though, most pastors do have time. Here are some suggestions so that you can train pastors who have never(!) been taught by someone who has any type of formal training.
1. Let the youth pastor preach. Maybe you are having a hard time giving up the pulpit, but my guess is that your youth/associate pastor has had a sermon he has wanted to preach all year if you would just let him.
2. Stop going to committee meetings. Honestly, stop going unless you really don't trust those in charge.
3. Go to your elders early. Talk to them about the need for theological education overseas. Broach the topic with them 6 months before budget talks.
4. Take an elder with. WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS! It is a lot easier for a church to send their pastor with an elder than the pastor by himself.
5. Teach your people that this type of missions is missions. It might seem strange to some ears, but many people who go with us have to convince people that training pastors is missions and worth our time.
6. Trust the Lord to provide. NO ONE that has signed up for a trip with TLI has fallen short of funds. Don't underestimate your church, even if it's under 150 people.
7. Don't go on the short-term trip to paint a house. There are people in your church that are skilled labor workers. There are people in your church that can do street evangelism. There are very few who can train pastors. Leverage your gifting for maximum impact.
8. Turn off your iPhone, iPad and Macbook when you get home. Pastors complain that they have too much to do and don't get enough family time. Maybe that is true, but you could certainly help maximize your time by not surfing the internet for the latest news and blog posts while your daughter asks you to read a book to her.
The training of pastors requires pastors to do the training. Get involved.
Darren Carlson is the Founder and President of Training Leaders International. As President, Darren oversees the general direction of the ministry and serves as an advocate for pastors with little access to formal training and thoughtful cross-cultural theological engagement. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.