MentorNet #77
Copyright © 2010 by Galen Currah, George Patterson and Edward Aw
Permission is granted to copy, translate, distribute, post or sell in any medium.

         Training of some kind happens in every aspiring or actual church-planting movement. A frustrating reality is that trainees often fail to apply their learning, or they do not report back on their ministry activities and outcomes. Here we try to identify some causes of breakdown between a trainer and trainees, recommending some possible remedies.



Trainer has too many trainees, hence too little time to devote to each one.

Trainer makes some trainees trainers of others and strengthens these trainers.

Trainer has too far to travel to meet with trainees.

Turn over distant trainees to apprentice trainers. Do not extend the work without raising up new trainers.

Trainees from a lower socio-economic class resist following instructions.

Raise up trainers from the trainees’ social class.

Deal separately with trainees from different social classes.

Training lessons do not match trainees’ learning needs.

Trainer listens to trainees’ reports, before choosing lessons. Choose training materials from a menu rather than follow a curriculum.

Trainees do not translate trainer’s ideas into action.

Make specific, short-range plans for immediate implementation in trainees’ churches.

Trainees do not implement plans.

Make plans simpler, and practice skills together.
Follow up plans at later meetings.

Trainees do not show up for training appointments.

Let trainees set the appointments. Drop uncooperative trainees from the program.

Trainees do not employ trainer’s recommended methods and materials.

Keep methods culturally appropriate, and employ affordable, available materials

Trainees do not study assigned materials.

Employ simpler materials or more oral methods.
Have trainees give a brief, oral summary of what they read.

Trainees do not speak well the trainer’s language.

Trainer works with one local trainee who trains the others in their language.

Trainees have no ministry in which to apply their lessons.

Train only those who start or lead cells or congregations.

Potential trainees cannot afford to pay training fees.

Keep training free as long as trainees implement their learning immediately.

Trainees do not train others in turn.

Make further training contingent on starting new congregations with new leaders.
Limit what trainees pass on to others to what they can handle.

Trainer is bored with training new leaders.

Train two or three trainees in the same session, so these can advise and encourage one another.

Trainees do not submit statistical reports.

Supply trainees with statistical report forms that are short and simple, and trainers encourage trainees with data from other workers.

Trainers collect report forms as part of their regular mentoring sessions.

Trainees forget what they were supposed to do in their gatherings.

Have trainees write down their plan or repeat their plan to the trainer and other trainees.

Trainers do not submit to ministry directors reports from trainees’ gatherings.

Limit each trainer to six or fewer trainees whom they must spend more time with.

Trainees skip from one ministry project to another, failing to follow up any one of them.

Each trainee agrees on an area of responsibility: what he will do, with whom, and where. Drawing simple maps can facilitate this.

Trainees run from one conference or training event to another that do not enhance their work.

Stop allowing presenters from outside to subsidize financially their own events.

Trainer bores trainees by lecturing too much.

Follow a mentoring plan that includes several interactive activities. See MentorNet #34.



See tested workshop manuals for training trainers:  <>.
Order P. O’Connor, Reproducible Pastoral Training, from a bookshop or at <>.
Download free CP software, “Come, Let Us Disciple the Nations,” from <>.
Download free mentoring tools and materials for new leaders from <>.
Find the Train & Multiply pastoral training course at <>.
Order George Patterson’s Church Multiplication Guide from a bookshop or at <>.
Download pastoral mentoring studies and children’s studies from <>.
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