How can I train in spiritual life and livelihood?
Training plays an essential part of "growing up" and maturing into thriving disciples. Our training needs to be holistic, encompassing both life and livelihood. "Life" refers to the relationship we have with God through Jesus Christ, and "livelihood" refers to the outworking of our life in the marketplace and community. We find holistic training and education through three primary ways: formal, informal, and non-formal.
Formal education: the hierarchically structured, chronologically graded ‘education system’, running from primary school through the university and including, in addition to general academic studies, a variety of specialized programs and institutions for full-time technical and professional training.
Informal education: the truly, lifelong process whereby every individual acquires attitudes, values, skills, and knowledge from daily experience and the educative influences and resources in his or her environment – from family and neighbors, from work and play, from the marketplace, the library, and the mass media.
Non-formal education: any organized, educational activity outside the established formal system – whether operating separately or as an important feature of some broader activity – that is intended to serve identifiable learning clientele and learning objectives.
If we, as members of the Body of Christ, truly desire to see thriving disciples among every language and ethnic group in the world, we will adapt our training styles to the local context and empower others for holistic ministry.
Who needs training?
When thinking about training, there are always two focuses: myself and others. As I begin to grow and mature in both life and livelihood, I can then coach others as they too go through the process in their own way.
For me to adequately guide others into the joy of salvation in Jesus Christ and freedom from sin and death, I need to invest time and energy into things that will foster growth. Not only do I need to grow daily in God's Word, but I also must be a responsible spouse, parent, grandparent, member of the community, and citizen. As I become more like Christ, my ministry to others is more effective.
The people that I live among or seek to reach with the Gospel may not share my worldview and have presuppositions that are very different from my own. They may even be from a completely different ethnic group and speak a different language. As we seek to make thriving disciples of Jesus Christ among the least reach people groups of the world, it is imperative that I have cross-cultural training.