Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go,

We are all familiar with this verse. So what is, the way they should go? Are we truly adequately equipping our people for every good work?  What did Jesus model in training people?  What do we do currently do with our young people for training?  Primarily we send them off to seminary or some other school.  We send them away somewhere to learn from somebody else who hasn’t done in the last five years (if ever) what they are teaching their students to do.

If the world is reinventing itself every 3 to 5 years, then what’s being taught is out of date.  So then those students go overseas expecting to use the skills they’ve learned, which, unbeknownst to them, are out-of-date. And then guess what happens?  Nothing.  Back home we hear the excuses; Oh, it’s so hard out to win people to Jesus over there.  We can make excuses, but personally I’m tired of the excuses.  The reason we have to make excuses is because we are the problem.  Greg Livingstone often says, “We have met the enemy, and he is us!”

When it comes to training potential B4T workers we need to encourage innovation.  We need to encourage new ideas.  We cannot criticize just because it’s never been done that way or that’s not what our organization normally does.  One of our God–given assignments is to reproduce ourselves; if we can’t do the training ourselves, then we need to rethink what we are doing.

Young people need to be trained as Jesus trained them—on site, walking alongside those who are doing the work or the business for transformation, seeing firsthand how to build up a business. They don’t need to read about it, they need to experience for themselves how B4Ters deal with government authorities.  They don’t need a lecture, rather they need to be involved in sharing the gospel in and through the business.  Hands on, integrated, real-life training–that’s where I see true learning taking place. Our interns and apprentices must get engaged with people’s lives.  They should be placed into situations which enable them to succeed or fail at adding value to the business while building eternal relationships with unreached peoples.  This kind of training, hand in hand with an onsite mentoring relationship, will not only equip young people better, but will also draw them into what we’re trying to do to make a difference long-term.

Let’s do training better.

PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.