You are a part of the plan of God for His church. You should feel honored at this lofty display of confidence He has in you. Because
your calling to the fivefold ministry is to be taken very seriously, and because indeed it is an honor to be called into Kingdom service,
the ministry to which you are called must be prepared for carefully and diligently. This is nothing you should leave to chance or think
that somehow it simply will all work out. The success you have in ministry will be a direct reflection of how you have prepared for it. If
you are diligent during this season of preparation, God will be diligent to work through you wondrously!
These days in which you are in training for ministry are essentially “boot camp” for what is to come here after. Just as the soldier is
required to train and prepare for battle, so it is with you. There are many things that must be done to transform the civilian into a
soldier; these closely parallel with your transformation from the pew to the pulpit. In this study we will look at the various ways you
are being changed in order for you to stand in the sacred desk and speak in God’s stead.
When we consider those first hours on base of a young recruit, there is always the mental image of him sitting in the barber chair
with that faint look in his eyes as he sees all his hair removed. We joke about that traumatic event, but actually it is very important to
his transformation. One of the most important aspects of transformation this recruit must undergo is to change his own view of
himself. The military realizes there is little room for individuality, even to the point of making the recruits look like one another. This
helps to reduce selfishness and self-centeredness and increases their concept of being a part of that fighting machine. They are
taught how to act, what to think, what to say, where to go and when to go there, and essentially they lose themselves. All of this is
very important if these young men are to survive and to be formed into a successful fighting unit.
We who answer the call of God are not unlike these young recruits in many ways. When we first arrive in the “boot camp of the
church” we may not see our locks shaven from our heads, but God immediately begins to remove from us everything of the world.
Just like the military, our heavenly Father has one thing in mind at this point, and that is to transform each of us into the likeness of
Jesus His Son. He wants us to talk like Him. He wants us to act like Him. He even wants us to think like Jesus. But, as we soon find
out, this transformation is going to take some work. And one of the first things to go is our right to think for ourselves. He shows us
the Manual [the Holy Bible] and expects that it dictate to us how we talk, how we act, and how we think. No questions asked.
The drills and exercises the military recruits undergo are designed to break down their individuality and conform them to the military’
s way of doing things. They discover within seconds of departing the bus the harsh, overwhelming voice of the drill instructor. That
voice will dictate everything about their lives over the next few weeks, so they soon learn to listen closely and to obey even the
slightest suggestion from the D.I. With each drill and each event, each recruit is closer to becoming a warrior. It may not feel good at
the time, but each one is undergoing a radical change into something very important to our nation and even to the world!
Even though I have not seen many ministers-in-training (MIT) marching in drill formation around the parking lot of the church, or
dropping to the ground to take 20, there are some similarities to training for the ministry. The marching drills help to build unity and
singleness of mind for the military; God directs us to Scriptures that reveal He has exact ways He expects us to operate. Just as the
marching soldiers are not allowed to develop their own cadence, neither are we given such liberties. This is why the Apostle Paul
writes what he does in I Timothy 3:15, But if I am delayed, I write so you may know how you ought to
conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
Paul did not encourage young Timothy to develop his own thoughts on how to lead the church. He did not do the politically right
thing and give him the right to think for himself? No, indeed. He was dictating to Timothy exactly what God had revealed to him. There
was nothing left to personal discretion. God had His ways of doing things and He told Paul and Paul was telling Timothy. By the way,
you and I are in that chain of command, aren’t we! Our task is to take what God gave Paul and accept it as the last and final word on
whatever subject He is handling.
The platoon that marches around the parade grounds does so synchronized by the voice of the drill instructor. He commands them
to turn this way or that. He stops them at will or propels them forward by vocal commands. God is doing that with you right now. He is
dictating your every step to you. The recruits do not hear the President of the United States of America, do they? Even though he is
the Chief Military Officer in our nation and thus in command over them, he has appointed this drill instructor to speak on his behalf to
these men and women.
One of the ways you will hear God’s voice during
your MIT season will be through your pastor or mentor.
Another very important lesson for the soldier-to-be is the lesson of submission to authority. That lesson is reinforced over and over
from the moment his feet hit the ground from getting off the bus. The drill instructor and officers do not ask the opinions of these
young recruits. They are not asked if they are comfortable or if their meal was just right. They are not given the choice of what time
they will get up each morning. Indeed not! If this lesson of submission is to be properly learned, the drill instructor and the officers
dictate absolutely every aspect of every day. This may seem stifling and unfair at first, but when the very lives of these men will hang
on this single factor when they are in the heat of battle, it becomes critically important and quite acceptable. So it is with you.
God sets in place in your life that person(s) He will use to direct you into maturity in the ministry. Submission to that divinely
delegated authority is critically important to you. Depending upon your background it may even seem at times to be burdensome. But
if you will accept it as God’s way and submit to it, things will go well for you and you will achieve your given goal much quicker. Your
pastor or mentor is set in place to get you into ministry faster, not to stall your progress.
The authority in which your pastor stands is his/hers by virtue of divine installation. That is why you can rest in the assurance that
he/she will handle you properly. Just as the young recruit does not always understand why certain things happen as they do, you too
will find yourself being asked to do things and think in certain ways that may not seem natural to you. As you submit to authority and
obey, God is pleased with you and things will go well for you.
God’s ways are above our ways, and His thoughts are above ours. Indeed,
His ways are better! That is why you will be trained to overcome natural ways.
Let’s return once again to see how Paul dealt with Timothy, for their relationship is a good example to us of an MIT program. Read II
Timothy 3:14, “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have
This is not arrogance speaking through Paul, but rather it is the voice of God. God is calling for this young protégé to do exactly
what he has been instructed to do by Paul, his spiritual father. To further emphasize this point, please read II Timothy 1:13.“Hold fast
the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus”
Can you see what is happening here? Jesus, who is the Head of the church, instructs Paul and he in turn instructs those over whom
he is given spiritual charge. This same pattern is used in your MIT program. Jesus gives instruction to His apostles in Holy Scripture
who in turn instruct your pastor or mentor who then gives instruction to you. Now you can see why submission to authority is of
utmost importance. When there is godly submission to spiritual authority, things go just as God intends; but when there is not that
godly submission, things do not work at all. You hold in your hands the choice of whether things will go well with you in your MIT
program, and I am confident you not only understand this truth but also willingly submit to it.
Jesus teaches us the most basic of all biblical truths in Mark 4. It is the truth called seedtime and harvest. The concept is simple, yet
extremely powerful! When a seed is planted, it will produce after its kind. (Galatians 6:7) The MIT that plants seeds of submission to
authority will reap harvests of submission from those they lead in the future. Their future harvests will yield flexible, teachable saints
who fill the pews in their church. Their ministry will go much more smoothly than the MIT who bucks against authority and grudgingly
yields to his pastor or mentor.
Your own acts of submission to authority are the seeds from
which will come the harvests of others submitting to you.
Choose the kinds of harvests you desire.
Perhaps we should state the obvious: if there were no need for submission to authority, God would not command it. What is its
importance? The answer is clear: apart from clearly established lines of authority the church would suffer from confusion and
disorder. Order has always been how God has dealt with mankind. We see it in Moses. The plan of God was to lead Israel out of
slavery and into the land of promise. He is God. He designed the system any way He wanted. He could have translated them in an
instant back to Canaan; but He didn’t. He could have installed a totally socialistic design whereby the Spirit of God somehow led every
one individually; but He didn’t. He called a single man to lead them. This fact reveals an important way God operates with man. He
always installs a leader to lead His covenant people. He has not changed.
This is why you are being prepared. You will lead the covenant people of God. It may be at the local church level or it may be in a
broader scope of ministry. God is readying His chosen vessel [you] for leadership. And one of the most important ways He is
preparing you is by humbling you before Him through teaching you submission to those in authority during this MIT program.
The SIT (soldier in training) finds himself being stretched beyond what he thinks is tolerable. Almost every aspect of training moves
him beyond his past experiences and outside of his established comfort zone. Physical rigors of training push him to pain limits he
previously thought impossible. But he soon finds he can endure pain and that he can do more than his experiences attest. Mental
toughness is developed during training as well. If this SIT is to become a warrior and be successful in battle, he must be prepared in
all regards. Mental preparation is a key to his survival as well as to his success, and he is stretched in this way too.
His mind is forced to accept foreign thoughts. For example: when his body tells him he is tired, he must resist the signal from his
mind to rest. He cannot rest until he is told by his drill instructor he can rest. Well, that is not the way it has always been in his life. He
is accustomed to doing what his mind says. He no longer has that luxury. There will be times his stomach will shout, “Feed me!” But
the drill instructor has not yet agreed with that, so eating must be postponed and the SIT must accept it willingly. He wants to sleep
longer this morning because of the lateness of last night’s overland trek. Does he get to do what his mind is telling him? No. He is up
and going strong when he is told be up and going strong! Where is his constitutionally preserved right to think for himself? He has
not lost it, but during this phase of his training, it is put on hold in order for him to fully prepare for what lay ahead.
You too will feel stretched at times as you move from MIT to Minister of the Gospel and even beyond. Do not fall to the temptation to
feel overwhelmed by all the learning and doing and reading. The stretching is getting you ready to face the reality that people in your
church or under your supervision will not plan their crises during your office hours. Your plans will often be no where in sight and
you will feel like you are being carried along by an invisible force that neither feels good nor conforms to your past experiences. By
being stretched now, you will be more able to endure hard times and it will help you triumph over challenges to your faith that you will
undoubtedly face. Boot camp is designed to imitate battle-like conditions and challenges; so it is to a lesser degree in an MIT
program. We try to expose you to certain things now so when you are no longer under direct supervision, you are not then trying to
learn how to cope with the challenges.
The future soldier at some point in his training is handed a weapon. It may the first time he has ever held a rifle. He knows that this
gun is his key to survival on the battlefield and to the success of the missions in which he will be engaged. He knows little or nothing
about the firearm. He does not know how to load it or how to use it properly or how to clean and maintain it. He soon learns these
things. That is what basic training is all about – learning and growing.
Learning and growing is what an MIT program is all about too. Like the SIT, the MIT is handed weapons that may be foreign to him.
The MIT program is designed to train him in spiritual warfare. He will be shown how to put on the armor; what his weapons are and
how to use them against the evil one and his kingdom of darkness. He will become proficient in fighting, for indeed that is what
ministry is about – fighting the forces of evil.
Soldiers soon learn about a phrase that is dreaded and feared by every soldier, it is “friendly fire.” Even though it is called
“friendly” you still die when it happens! This phrase is used when a soldier is killed unintentionally by one of his own comrades. It is
called a reality of war. Great pains are taken to instruct the young recruits in how to avoid this deadly mistake.
The church is sometimes a battlefield in which friendly fire takes place. This should not be, but with the inclusion of carnal human
beings in the equation, it happens. The MIT is trained in the use of his spiritual weapons. At least he can prevent casualties from his
own hands. Learning how to help others avoid such tragedies is also part of the MIT’s training.
The soldier soon discovers that policies and procedures are intertwined in every aspect of military life. To understand these
policies and procedures is to greatly enhance one’s life in the military. It causes you to smoothly interact with your superiors; it moves
you ahead in your career; and it helps to streamline your everyday life. So it is with the MIT. The MIT is actually in a crash course in
learning God’s policies and procedures.
The Bible, of course, is the manual that contains His policies and procedures. This is why the MIT will continually be directed to It.
The Word of God contains the answer to every question and the guidance needed for a successful ministry.