The TIM Training Course is a 1 day a week course running over 2 years which has as its aim to train Christians to understand and be able to preach and teach God’s Word in a variety of contexts. It is suitable for Christians of all ages and stages who have shown GRAFT: Godliness, Reliability, Availability, Faithfulness and Teachability. The course aims to equip these Christians to understand God’s word accurately and to proclaim and apply it appropriately.
If you are someone who has shown GRAFT in your local church, it may be worth considering doing the Tim Training Course … as soon as possible!
Here are 10 reasons why.
1. To get to know God better
The first verse of the Bible tells us God made everything. The first chapter tells us humans have a special place in his creation. The second chapter tells us God relates personally to humans. The third chapter tells us that the relationship between God and humans has been poisoned by rebellion which means judgement must necessarily follow. Given each of these things, there can be nothing better than to know personally this God who made everything, including us for his special purposes, and relate well to him not as enemies but as reconciled people; indeed his adopted children.
2. To Hear God’s Word
The rest of the Bible from Genesis 3 onwards tells us how we can know God and be reconciled to Him. It is therefore a wonderful thing to learn! But more than that, the Bible is God’s breathed out word. God relates to us personally and the way to get to know a person is by how they communicate. The primary way God communicates with us is by his word. As we hear and rightly understand the Bible, we hear the God of the universe speaking His word to us. There can be nothing more worthwhile than to set aside time to do that.
3. To focus upon Jesus Christ
While God has spoken at many times and in various ways through the prophets in the Old Testament, he has spoken fully, finally and clearly in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one who fulfils all the plans and purposes of God. To know Him is to know the Father; he is the one who reveals the Father to us. Therefore, as we listen to the Bible, we must always listen to it aware that it centres upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
At the Tim Training Course, there are various ministry topics which are examined among other parts of the syllabus. At points, academic issues about the Bible are touched upon. However, the majority of the course is spent hearing from God’s word and examining it as it is fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ. Consequently, for Christian people who by the power of the Spirit are GRAFT, doing the Tim Course provides an opportunity to know God better, to hear from God’s word and to focus upon the Lord Jesus. However, it is not enough to merely be hearers of the word.
4. To be sharpened by iron
Proverbs 27:17 says:
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
This is generally true in human endeavours. It is no less true in the Christian walk as one believer seeks to serve their Lord and Master Jesus. At the Tim Course, students have the opportunity to be shaped and sharpened by God’s word together with students and lecturers who are similarly GRAFT. This has the great benefit of meaning that as the Word of God is heard, there is encouragement to understand it rightly, do what it says, and not deceive ourselves by ignoring it but instead spur each other one to love and good deeds.
5. To be trained for a lifetime
Physical training is of some value. However, sooner or later its effectiveness wears off. But training in godliness has value for all things. While training in some fields can quickly become out of date and even redundant and obsolete, to be taught how to understand, apply and teach God’s word is training which has the potential to be beneficial throughout a lifetime of Christian service, wherever a person may find themselves ministering.
6. To labour in that which is not in vain
Death renders all of life’s pursuits as vain. However the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ robs death of its victory and power and consequently anything which serves the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is not in vain. This is true of the faithful efforts of a slave to please a master and a child to obey their parents. It is true of those who generously help the poor and are hospitable to strangers. None of these activities, done in the service of Jesus, are vain pursuits.
However, the ministry of the gospel of Jesus is in some ways like the administering of the medicine which brings eternal life. While everything that is involved in supporting the administering of the medicine is important, the administering of the medicine itself has particular importance. All else would be vain without it.
While study is often regarded as a worthy thing in and of itself in our society, the reality is that it can often be a vain pursuit. In contrast to this sort of study, being trained to administer the life-giving word of God is not in vain. Inevitably, setting aside time to be trained in God’s word comes at a personal cost – financially at the very least, but usually in other areas as well. Other endeavours can seem more fruitful because the benefits appear more tangible. But learning how to give life giving medicine is of potentially eternal worth.
7. To be equipped to serve in local churches
While it is hoped that students find the Tim Training Course enriching, that is not the primary goal of the course. It is a course whose primary aim is to train Christians to serve other people by faithfully proclaiming the word of God. It is intended therefore that the course will have practical (and hopefully immediate) benefits to the local churches where students teach and proclaim God’s word, as well as churches where they may serve in the future. The ‘hands on’ nature of the course, and particularly the assessment process, is intended to achieve this. Students are not required to submit any assignments for marking; the ‘assignments’ are live teaching opportunities which are critiqued in class by other students and by experienced Bible teachers. Iron sharpening iron.
8. To see the wings pulled off a butterfly
Often listening to a good sermon or seeing a good minister in action is like watching a butterfly. It is a delight to watch and seems so effortless and yet – how on earth does the butterfly pull it off? One of the great privileges at the Tim Training Course is to not merely hear the Word of God proclaimed by experienced preachers – but to ask and hear them explain why they preached God’s word as they did; that is to pull the wings off the butterfly and see what makes it fly. Similarly, in the ministry classes, there are opportunities to ask gifted and experienced ministers why they do what they do, and how.
9. Because New Zealand desperately needs more workers for the harvest field
When Jesus saw people in Galilee harassed and helpless because they did not have him as their good shepherd, he commanded his disciples to ask the Lord of the Harvest for workers for the harvest field. That was where the shortage was: workers, not the harvest. While we may not know how big the harvest will be in New Zealand, we can be sure from what our Lord said that the way to reap the biggest harvest is to have sufficient workers.
If we had as an aim that all New Zealand hear the gospel personally from a faithful Christian at a local church, then we would need to have about 1 in 10 people attending a good evangelical church. That would mean approximately 2000 churches of 200 people each. Let’s say these need a staff of 3 (a pastor, a women’s pastor and a youth pastor) and at least 3 key people who were non staff. That would mean that we would need to train up 6000 staff and 6000 other key members of churches. How many ‘good evangelical churches’ do you know in New Zealand? There is a desperate need for workers.
10. Because there is rarely a time like the present
Hopefully the reasons above have provided many good reasons to do the Tim Training Course. The question may then be, though: when? The answer to this question will of course be different for anyone. However it is worth considering when is the earliest possible time that it could realistically be committed to and undertaken. There are several reasons for this. The primary one has to do with reason 9. New Zealand needs workers for God’s harvest field, and as soon as possible. There is an urgency to the gospel task since there are many who do not know Jesus, since we do not know when the Lord will return, and nor do we know how long the conditions will remain that are favourable for proclaiming the gospel of Jesus and being trained in it.
The parable of the sower reminds us that it is not difficult for a soil to be distracted from producing a good crop by the cares of this world; it is always easy therefore to be able to come up with reasons “why not”. However, if the answer to the question of “Should you do something like the Tim Training Course?” is “yes”, then the next question to be answered is: “When could you do it at the earliest?”
For the workers are few and we need a whole lot more, and fast.