Tom, Dick and Harry

Trained or untrained? Who will answer the question?


There are too many ministering to young people who are untrained, unskilled and not even called!


Yes, I know that there are many who have just been ticked off. I’m sure many of you are saying things like:

“God called me, I don’t need to study!”

“God looks for my availability not for my ability”

“Who needs a title to minister?”

“There isn’t anybody available so we can’t be fussy”

“What does it matter, anything is better than nothing”

And I am sure there are many other statements that has made its rounds.


So let me use an analogy in this post. You have a car, may not be a fancy car, but it is your car. You spent money on purchasing that car and now you must have you car either serviced or fixed. Who do you send it to? Do you just send it to any Tom, Dick or Harry that says they can work on cars? Do you send it to someone who says “I don’t need to have an ability to fix cars, I just need to be available”? Or “I don’t need to have knowledge of what I am about to do, it will come to me on the spur of the moment when it matters! I mean anything is better than nothing!” I know the answer to that one. It’s a HELL NO! That person better know what they are doing because the car will be returned to us in a condition that is worse than when it went in.


We are so specific when it comes to these tangible things in our lives. Things that can be easily replaced or fixed. These things have to be serviced by trained, equipped and professional people who know what they are doing. But when it comes to ministering to our young people we just allow any idiot to get in the room and just hammer away with whatever tool they have at their disposal. Our young people are so much more worth than these fancy things we can purchase any other year. We need trained, equipped, knowledgeable and experienced people ministering to our youth. We need people who are called by God to minster to our youth, else we will have young people with a theologically skewed way of thinking and a warped mentality of God and who he is.


So pastor, parent, adult – make sure the person ministering to your youth is trained, equipped, knowledgeable and called!


7 thoughts on “Tom, Dick and Harry

  1. Pastor Garth. Some heavy statements you are saying here. Firstly I would point out that the disciples were not educated, Jesus Himself was not educated (in the formal sense of educated) at that time.
    I agree with you that any Tom, Dick and Harry should not be going around declaring the Gospel and ministering to people. But to say that ministering belongs to the exclusive club of educated and trained thats a bit of a stretch. Trained and educated, in what sense do you mean?

    I think it is not necessary to be trained formally, I do however think its an absolute necessity to be connected to the body and through body life (which the Bible clearly speaks about) people will come through the process of maturing. I think what causes the current situation is that people are functioning out of what they are intended for and this gives the impression that the untrained are doing it.

    I don’t support the professional minister concept, since I think it excludes a lot of people and allows there to be unnecessary separation among people in Christ. I believe we should have more weathered (in the storms of life in Christ) people yes. And ministering openly to people should be done by people who have a proven walk with Christ yes. But to say that it should only be done by a professional educated bunch I think is a bit of a stretch….

    1. I am propagating formal training as the only means whereby you can minister the Gospel or be involved in some sort of ministry. But equally so, I do believe it has its place in ministry and the life of the church.

      Jesus might not have had the four years of theological training but to say he was not educated (in the formal sense, as you put it) is not true. Jesus grew up in a Jewish home and culture, being trained by his father to continue the family business but was also tutored like any Jewish boy under Rabbinic law and instruction (Lk 2). Jesus studied and knew Scripture, as we see on so many occasion as he quotes it (during his temptation and public ministry). Yes, I agree that any person should be responsible in learning the instruction of Scripture and pursue maturing in the faith as stated in Hebrews and Corinthians. Each believer is an ambassador of Christ.

      Regarding the disciples’ education. They were hand picked by Jesus (a calling if you wouldn’t mind me using the word) and spent their time in his private and public ministry, under his tutelage. They were taught theory, what Scripture says and the application there of, as seen in many occasions when Jesus would preach the parables and other biblical principles (as seen in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). They were also taught to be practical in taking the message of Christ to people (Mk 10; Lk 9). I’m sure they weren’t called Reverends or Doctors, but to say they weren’t educated is not accurate.

      So then, what am I referring to in the above? I am not propagating an exclusive clergy to preach and practice ministry, it is biblical that we all should spread the Gospel and bring people to Christ (Mt 28). I am also saying that it is okay for any ordinary believer to be in the ministry of Christ. What you fail to understand from the post is the gross apathy and indifference that people have to being trained and educated in the Word of God and wanting to stand above the responsibilities that comes attached with being a believer. We have to study to show ourselves approved and correctly handle the Word of God (2 Tim 2). I am not wanting to go back to pre-Reformation days where only an elite clergy was entitled to handle Scripture, it is our duty and responsibility (Mt 28).

      In conclusion, we all have a testimony (Rev 12) and a gifting (1 Cor 12; Rom 12), and it’s given unto us by God for the edification of the church, but in my opinion there is a growing irresponsibility in how and why people are going about administering it.

      1. Just a correction in the first line of the first paragraph. The word “not” has been omitted. The sentence should read “I am not propagating formal training…”

      2. Look I hear what you say, but in terms of the day that Jesus and the disciples were in, their formal training was done via the Rabbi’s. It is this formal training that I am referring to.

        In terms of that, the disciples were not given formal training. But in reality they were given the best type of education. One which i think we have lost along the way. One which is in every day life in community with each other. I doubt that what we constitute as training today is equatable. I am not trying to fight you here, and at the same time I do know that some people simply should avoid “speaking into people’s lives (mostly young people as you say). My reason is that they may not have the evidence of Christ in their lives, and not a lack of training.

        I know some people who have had all the training one can think of and still they catch on rubbish.

        The disciple were what we could call the outcasts of religious society, since in scripture even the Pharisees marveled at Jesus and later the disciples too, since they knew them to be uneducated (meaning they were not schooled in the temple by the Rabbi’s and pharisees themselves)

        I just hope people realise that the scriptures are open to all and so is ministering to each other, but they must have evidence of Christ. Meaning if we have spent time walking with Him and live in Him then we will be able to share that effectively.

        I am sorry, but if one phrases it as training and education it leads our current culture into the understanding that it is for some and not for all. So I think what we are saying is the same thing just a different route to the same ending

  2. Please do not misunderstand the reasoning behind this post. Everyone can and should be ministering and partakers in the propagating of the Gospel. I think we both agree on that point.

    We also agree that you should mature in your faith that you may not be some wishy washy looney tune spreading some heresy.

    We also know that the culture of Jesus’ time and ours differ remarkably, it is important to to transfer their cultural roots onto ours.

    Finally, I will be able to play a little ghetto blaster quite well, but ask me to sit behind a desk at Artscape! It will be total disaster. Every industry and vocation has their roots in antiquity and simplicity and had to grow and evolve in order that it may be relevant and offer a standard that is acceptable and accurate. Let’s not sideline the ministry or theological vocation.

  3. I do understand the reasoning behind the post. What I am trying to say is that ministering is not a vocation. It is simply a calling and you would find that is has regressed into a vocation. I say regressed because even you can’t deny the failings and short fallings that develop from it being considered a job. Also the idea that someone could be called a professional in the scriptures or the interpretation of them is ludicrous. No one person can make that claim. We can get it wrong.

    I understand your issue you have, but I am saying that the answer and solution is inadequate for the day we find ourselves in. With regards to your ghetto blaster analogy….. Well the south african sound industry is not a good example to use, since the guys who run the country in terms of sound, never put their foot in a sound school. They learnt with a mixture of self learning and from other people. Which leans more towards what I am saying from the beginning. Also ministering and working with God can not be equated to working in a profession. Since the more time I spend in my profession and reading books the more of an “expert” I become. With scriptures that is not always the case.

    I can spend 50 years with the scriptures and I still might not be wiser at all……Until I spend time with the One Whom scripture is about.

    I think I respectfully disagree since you are in the system and it would be hard for you to see what I am saying. The professional vocation of the 5 fold ministry is unfortunately an evil I have to contend with as part of our age. As they say, its hard for someone to accept something they are paid not to understand….

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