The Trellis & The Vine

The Trellis & The Vine

This is a good book that has been out for a couple of years now. It is written by a man called Colin Marshall who has been involved in training men and women for ministry for over 30 years. His quite obvious focus is on training men and women in our churches to be effective gospel communicators, disciplers and trainers.

His thesis is that if we train more people in evangelism then more people will come to our events. That’s OK if you are an ‘event’ driven church. We are more concerned with training people to share the gospel with people regardless of whether they come to events. Our ethos is that if we want to invite people to something then invite them to our homes or the pub/cafe/whatever is relevant. Even better, go to their ‘places’ and take the gospel there.

I do like the emphasis on this book though on using gifts rather than plugging holes. For instance, many leaders and churches will see a need and try to find ‘bodies’ to plug the gap. Marshall writes: ‘Instead of thinking, “who can fill this gap in our personnel?”, perhaps the question we need to consider is “What ministry could this member exercise?” (p20)

I like the thought that ministers can better free their time in the long-term by training people now in a variety of pastoral duties. Surely, he is right, our job is to send people out to promote the gospel regardless if that means ‘losing our best’ sometimes and not seeing persistent growth. All stuff worth thinking about in our own contexts.

There are some great notes on Ministry Apprenticeship Schemes and some further resources at the end of the book. Buy it.