Training of New Testament Ministers

by Lacy Hawkins, Minister and General Overseer

Many times in our encounters with the legal, financial, and judicial systems, or in other situations, we may be required to present a clear understanding of what our ministerial training is based upon. We must be prepared to give an answer of our qualifications, or more to the point, provide training for our ministry. It has been my experience if you provide a biblical answer it will in most cases satisfy them due to the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Following is a brief outline for the basis of New Testament Trained Ministers:

According to New Testament scriptures, a minister’s training or apprenticeship is achieved through discipleship. A disciple is a pupil, scholar, and follower of his teacher. This is most profoundly demonstrated by Jesus, as the twelve followed Jesus as his disciples (Matt. 4:18-22; Matt.8:21-23; Matt.9:9). In addition, the 12 had disciples, or followers (Acts 6:1-6). A disciple must eventually be able to implement or master what he has been taught by his instructor (II Tim. 2:1-2; II Tim.3:10-11; Titus 1:9).

Apostle Paul’s training was through discipleship, although it was under the Mosaic Law (Acts 22:3; Phil. 3:5-8). He also trained ministers through discipleship during his missionary journeys (Acts 14:22-23; Acts 16:1-2; I Tim. 1:1-2; I Cor. 4:16-17; Titus 1:4; I Cor. 11:1).

Discipleship training is more widely recognized in the civil world as on-the-job training, apprenticeship training, or cooperative training.

One must first have proven himself a servant prior to his eligibility to the ministry, according to New Testament scriptures. As Jesus was a servant, a minister is also a servant (Matt. 12:18). However, for any man to qualify as a New Testament minister, he must have first been a servant himself (Matt. 10:24; Matt.20:25-28; Matt. 23:11; John 13:13-16; I Tim. 3:8-10).

New Testament Order does not promote, nor do we believe that formal education, ecclesiastical institutions, or inherited ministries are qualifications. However, we do stress education for the purpose of livelihood (John 7:15; Acts 4:13; I Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:1-7).

Courses of study such as human behavior, sociology, psychology, and other courses of professional training, which do not rely on the New Testament scriptures, but rather rely on studying the conduct or behavior of individuals, does not prepare you to become a New Testament Minister. Such counseling should come from the Holy Scriptures. This is the strength of discipleship training, which relies on the Holy Scriptures (Col. 2:8; I Tim. 6:20-21).

However, we do not object to anyone receiving professional counseling. Although we recognize that it does not rely on the Holy Ghost Scriptures, but is a decision of the individual.

In addition to this, seminaries and bible schools offer the opportunity for one to promote himself into the ministry simply because he may have a great degree of natural talents, or may be accomplished scholastically, or simply might just see a vocational interest in the ministry. None of this relies on or is supported by New Testament scriptures (John 10:12; John 15:16; Gal. 1:1).

A servant serves from the desires of his heart and love for the Church. Although a servant may desire to work in the ministry, he also may not, yet his service is still to the Church. If they have never served through a discipleship, they do not qualify as a New Testament minister. When it comes to training ministers as Jesus taught us, we believe we have the best scripturally-trained ministers there are (Luke 22:25-27).