Guidelines for Trainers of Novice Shepherds

Trainer’s Prayer: “Dear Lord, help us to instruct new shepherds from your Word, so that they will lead the flocks that you have given them to serve, in the power of your Holy Spirit. We ask this in the Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen”

Guideline 1.
Train Shepherds by Three Methods

Maintain a balance between modelling, mentoring and classroom lecturing.


Train new shepherds in ways that assure that their flocks will keep multiplying, by keeping a healthy balance between the three training methods, just as Jesus and the apostles did.

Method 1: Model skills for Shepherds

Demonstrate shepherding skills for new leaders during the week.


Method 2: Mentor Small Groups


Meet in small groups, so that you listen to each trainee report on what his flock is doing. Then apply the Word of God to the needs of each flock. Help trainees to plan what they and their flocks will do the next week


Method 3: Give Lectures to Bigger Groups

Teach occasional seminars for larger groups.

Let us explain each of these three methods

Method 1: Model shepherding skills for apprentices who are still learning them.

Demonstrate pastoral care and any other aspect of the work that apprentices still do not know how to do, the same way that Jesus and the apostles modelled shepherding skills for the their disciples while they taught, healed and counselled.

Demonstrate shepherding skills while working during the week, and not merely during worship times. Trainees may sometimes accompany and observe the trainer, when he cares for his own flock. Sometimes the trainer may visit the trainee and helps him to care for his new flock.

Method 2: Mentor small groups locally.

Have trainees meet in small groups of two to five persons. Their groups need to be small so that you, the trainer, can listen to each trainee report what his flock is doing and deal with the different needs and opportunities that arise in each congregation. Normally trainees from only one or two, possibly three congregations meet with mentors.

Method 3: Teach general truths that apply to all congregations at bigger meetings.

When possible, gather large groups of shepherds from a large area to teach things that apply to all shepherds.

Write Your Plans

Please, pray for help, then write your plan to balance the three kinds of teaching, the way Jesus and His apostles did.










Guideline 2.
Choose Studies that Offer What a Trainee’s
Flock Lacks

Ask your trainer or coordinator for the Paul-Timothy User’s Menu, or download it from Click ‘Download Menu’. Select the format of your choice, beside ‘A printable version of Users’ Menu’ (read the instructions at the top).

·         Trainers and trainees should meet in small groups and use the Paul-Timothy User’s Menu to select studies.

·         Practice selecting appropriate studies now, using the list of Ministries and a few sample studies below, taken from the Paul-Timothy User’s Menu. Tick between the brackets [  ] an activity that is lacking or needs improvement in your flock.

A good trainer names and trains shepherding elders in new groups of believers. He helps trainees to lead their people in doing the things that are still lacking in each flock (Titus 1:5). To learn what is lacking in the congregations, first listen to your trainees tell you what their flock is doing and not yet doing.

“We trainers first listen carefully to those whom we train”

·         Paul-Timothy does not follow a ‘linear’ curriculum, in which all student start with the first item and move in a straight line to the second item, and so on to the end. Rather, you are to select options from among different resources, to meet current needs. Jesus urges teachers to use a variety of resources:“Every teacher ... instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” Matt. 13:52


Ministries and Sample Studies (from the User’s Menu)


·         Each set of studies contains a study for New Shepherds and another on the same topic for Children.

Write Your Plans

Whom do you plan to mentor, to train them to help you shepherd your flock, or a new flock?


How will you help your apprentices to begin at once to shepherd their own families and others whom they win to Christ?









If someone mentors you, then let him know which needs you ticked above in the list of Ministries. He will then help you get the corresponding studies and skill training.

What is the number of the study that corresponds to the ministry you chose? (Study numbers appear after the study name.) ___________


Guideline 3
Give Mentoring the Same Emphasis that
Scripture Does

Jesus and Paul are our models of how to train. We follow the guidelines that Jesus and Paul used to train leaders. New shepherds should meet once or twice a month with a mentor who will listen to them and find out the needs of the shepherds’ flocks. Mentors should then equip them to deal with those needs, at once. When a flock is new, a trainee may meet more often with a mentor.

·         Mentoring applies mainly to new shepherds. Mature leaders can keep learning by attending occasional seminars, unless they face a special issue that requires an expert’s advice.

·         Normally a leader mentors shepherds of new flocks that he or his flock has raised up, as in 2 Timothy 2:2.

·         A mentor does not have to be an elderly, highly-experienced leader. He might be only one month ahead of the trainees whom he mentors. This works well because the mentor can easily sympathize with the same needs that the newer workers have. In this case, the mentor should also meet with a more experienced mentor, in a mentoring ‘chain’.

Mentoring with Paul-Timothy studies is easy. Novice shepherds can mentor newer shepherds, if you will provide them materials that deal with the needs of new flocks. Use materials like the Paul-Timothy studies. Translate them into your trainees’ language. Mentoring normally is temporary. New shepherds of new congregations with new believers are like ‘baby’ leaders of ‘baby flocks.’ They always need some kind of mentoring, just as newborn babies need constant care of their urgent needs.

·         Mentoring new leaders properly takes a good amount of time. This is why you should also hold occasional seminars for larger groups. Paul spent much time mentoring Timothy and Titus with fatherly care. When they matured and no longer needed frequent care, Paul left them to train others.

·         After Paul’s mentoring of Timothy and Titus tapered off, they kept the mentoring chain growing by passing on what they learned from Paul to novice leaders. Just as newborn babies need much personal attention, so new leaders and new churches need mentoring, until they are doing what the New Testament requires them to do.

Write your Plans

Whom will you begin mentoring? ________________________________________

When will you start? ________________________________________



Guideline 4
Be Accountable to Someone, and Provide Accountability to Others

A leader of the Lord’s work must be accountable to other leaders. You and other leaders should examine each other’s ministries, not to control others, but to help each other develop your ministries.

Such accountability is joyful for all its participants, if they love one another.

You should meet with other leaders occasionally and report what you have done. To lead people without other leaders examining your work could become a damaging sin of negligence.

Paul was accountable at first to the other leaders in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1-2).

Later, Paul and Barnabas reported what they had been doing to the congregation in Antioch that had sent them to the nations (Acts 13:1-3 and 14:26-28).

You and other leaders should correct one another (Colossians 3:16) and confess your faults one to another (James 5:16). You should heed the advice of other leaders and listen to their criticisms.

All shepherds need such supervision, by which leaders make sure that each other’s activities are biblical. It will help you to grow in your leadership skills and to avoid exercising selfish, abusive control over people.

Write your Plans

Who will mentor you? ____________________________

How often will you meet at first? ______________________________________

If you have no mentor, arrange it with someone who uses Paul-Timothy. If you cannot find such a person, then begin the mentoring ‘chain’ yourself, by starting to train others, as Paul told Timothy to do in 2 Timothy 2:2.


Guideline 5
Follow Biblical Guidelines for Multiplication

Wherever the apostles made disciples the way Jesus said, congregations multiplied. God works the same way today, when shepherds lay a foundation of obedience to Jesus’ commands. You must teach your own flock and train new leaders of new flocks, the way Jesus and His apostles did. For example, Paul mentored Timothy, who trained faithful men, who trained others also (2 Tim. 2:2); this resulted in many new congregations.

Jesus and His apostles trained new leaders mainly by mentoring them. Mentoring allows you to train leaders as fast as new congregations multiply, because each novice shepherd trains newer shepherds of the congregations that he or his flock helps to start.

New shepherds observe a more experienced mentor modelling shepherding skills and applying God’s Word at once to the people whom he serves, then imitate him (1 Corinthians. 11:1).           

Jesus emphasized that growth and multiplication in His kingdom resembles that of plants. If we sow grain in good ground it reproduces up to 100 times (Mark 4).

Make sure that each trainee soon begins mentoring other newer shepherds, to keep the flocks reproducing the normal way. Training goes together with evangelism. With fervent prayer, evangelism and God’s help, you can multiply workers and their new congregations.

Seek to work with receptive people. Where people reject the Good News, Jesus commanded us to ‘shake the dust’ from our feet and to leave there. This usually does not require us to move our residence, but moves us to seek people whom God has prepared. Normally, poorer classes are more receptive to the Good News.

Mentoring the way Jesus and the apostles did it, is powerful and helps to keep flocks reproducing. Jesus gave to the apostles a ‘package’ of truths and practices that was light enough to pass on easily to others, like the baton in a relay race.

God uses the caring relationship between mentor and trainee to make it easy to pass on the ‘baton’ to develop effective leaders and to multiply congregations.

A good mentor trains new leaders with methods that they can quickly and easily imitate, with which they can train other, newer shepherds. Avoid using equipment that your trainees do not have, when you teach or model skills for them.

Mentoring in Scripture resulted in ‘chains’ with several generations of mentors, whose apprentices mentored others, and so on. Examples include these:

Jethro mentored Moses,

Moses mentored Joshua and the elders of Israel. God gave the Ten Commandments originally for the newly named elders to use. The shepherding of the people took place in small groups of ten (Exodus chapters 18 – 20).

Joshua mentored the other army leaders.

Deborah mentored Barak. As a result, Barak won a great military victory for God.

Eli mentored Samuel.

Samuel mentored Saul and David who became Israel’s greatest king.

Ahithophel and Nathan the prophet also mentored David.

David mentored his army commanders and government officials, to establish the united nation of Israel.

David also mentored his son Solomon.

Solomon mentored the Queen of Sheba. She returned to her people with his wisdom in the form of Proverbs that applied God’s law.

Elijah mentored Elisha.

Elisha mentored king Jehoash and others.

Daniel mentored King Nebuchadnezzar. The King later humbled himself before God

Mordecai mentored Esther

Esther mentored King Artaxerxes. This led to his liberating of God’s people.

Jesus mentored his twelve apostles. They started the first Christian congregations.

The twelve apostles mentored Paul and hundreds of other leaders.

Paul mentored Titus, Timothy and many others

Timothy mentored Epaphras and other “faithful men.”

Epaphras and the other faithful men mentored “others also” (2 Timothy 2:2) which led to a chain reaction that resulted in dozens of new congregations in Asia.

Philip mentored the Ethiopian official. The official received Christ and was baptized in the desert.

Priscilla and Aquila mentored Apollos. This resulted in an improved ministry and new flocks.


Write your Plans

If you have never taught people in any other way than the traditional classroom method, then, please, take a moment now to pray and ask the Lord to help you.

If you do not have the ability or time to add mentoring to your schedule, please, ask the Lord to show you whom you should assign this responsibility to, so that your flock can sustain the training of leader in the way that Jesus and the apostles did.

According to 2 Timothy 2:2, the same worker can be a trainee receiving training and, at the same time, be a trainer training newer workers. Such training can enable your flock and new flocks to keep on reproducing rapidly with new leaders, to sustain a widespread movement towards Christ. Those whom you train should soon begin training others. Write the names of workers whom they might train, if you know them. If you do not yet know, then, please, find out.


Write the names of others who could also become trainers helping you to train shepherds:











Guideline 6
Married Leaders Must Care for Their Wives
and Children

Paul warned that a believer who fails to care for his family has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8).

A true shepherd will begin his shepherding work by caring for his own family.

Many congregations and families suffer, because some shepherds spend too much time with other people, and neglect their own wives and children.

Write Your Plans

What will you do to make sure that you care properly for your wife and children?












Guideline 7
Let Trainees Discover ‘Gold’ in God’s Word

Help each shepherd to be an active learner rather than a passive ‘hearer only’ or a mere reader. Let each one discover truths that his flock needs, instead of waiting for others to teach him every detail.

Do not teach what a student can learn for himself.

Ask questions that will help him to think about what God wants him and his flock to do. Paul-Timothy studies suggest things for him to find in his Bible.


Guideline 8
Do Five Things in Mentoring Sessions

These five important things are to Pray, Listen, Plan, Review and Assign.

1)    Pray before, during and after a training session.

At the start of a session, ask the Lord to guide everyone present.

During the session, pray whenever you deal with a question, decision or problem for which you need special power or wisdom.

At the end of a session, ask the Lord for power for you and your flock to do what you have planned.

2)    Listen to each trainee. Let each one tell what he and his flock have been doing.

Urge the new shepherds to report both successes and failures.

Compare what he reports with the plans he made at the prior session.

3)    Plan each one’s field work.

Help each trainee to plan what he and his flock will do during the next week or month.

Plan to do things that correspond to the needs that the trainee reported.

Write down each item that the trainee agrees to do with his flock.

Avoid wasting time over problems that keep occurring. Always plan new activities.

Do not ‘dance with the devil’ by merely responding to the problems he causes. Keep initiating activities that the flock is not yet doing, or strengthening activities that are still weak. Keep building up the flock by concentrating on positive things.


“Just keep dancing to my tune!”


Both trainer and trainee should keep a copy of these plans, and refer to them at the next session.

4)    Review Studies assigned at the previous mentoring session.

Ask what the trainee learned from his reading. Let him talk about it.

If he has not learned a study well, then ask him to read it again. Do not assign him another study, until he has learned the present one well.

Let the student talk about what he has studied.

5)    Assign studies that fit current needs and opportunities to serve.

Do not assign the same study to all trainees. Assign to each trainee a study that fits his flock’s needs and opportunities to serve.

Assign only one study at a time to very new students, unless you will not be able to meet with them for a long time.

Use the Paul-Timothy User’s Menu (Guideline 2).


Write Your Plans

Please memorize the above five things that you will do in a session with your trainees, and write them here by memory:

1. ______________________

2. ______________________

3. ______________________

4. ______________________

5. ______________________


How will you obtain the Paul-Timothy studies for your trainees?











Guideline 9
Use Paul-Timothy Studies in a Way that Assures Immediate Application

Each Paul-Timothy study for New Leaders contains three parts:

1.   Prepare yourself through Bible Study.

2.   Plan the coming week’s activities.

3.   Plan the up-coming worship time.

1)    Prepare yourself through Bible Study.

Use Scripture as your guide to what you do and how you do it.

Use God’s Word as the guide for how you teach, evangelize, organize and worship, and not only as a source of content for your teaching.

Each study contains a list of things to find in God’s Word. You can teach those things during the next worship time, and ask questions about the things you were told to find.

2)    Plan the coming week’s activities.

Each study contains a list of optional things that you and the other believers can do during the week. Select those activities that meet current needs and fit local customs. Omit the rest.

Announce and explain those plans during worship. Enable all believers to serve Christ through their various ministries.


Your teaching during the worship time should prepare the believers to do those activities. If someone teaches a doctrine without dealing, in a practical way, with its corresponding duty, then he misuses God’s Word (James 1:22; Ephesians 2:8-10; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Plan ahead with co-workers what the believers will do during the week to bless:

·         one another (Galatians 5:13),

·         each family (Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4),

·         the community around them (Matt. 5:13-14) and

·         other congregations (Acts 15:41).

3)    Plan the upcoming worship time.

Make sure that everyone in your trainees’ flock, including children, participate during group worship time, and edify one another by using their spiritual gifts. Paul-Timothy studies for children prepare them to dramatize Bible stories, to recite poems and verses from Psalms, and to ask questions

The devil whispers in new shepherd’s ears, “Your group is small, so you do not have to plan well!” Shepherds sin when they fail to prepare well to lead their flock into the presence of Almighty God.


“Your group is small, so you do not have
to plan well! HA HA HA!”



When a PTLT study suggests many worship activities, choose only those that you and your flock need; omit the rest.

Write Your Plans

Which studies have you chosen to use first with your trainees?


What plans have you made for your next worship time?





What plans have your trainees made for their next worship times?









Guideline 10
Help Trainees Vary the Way they Teach

Jesus and His apostles used many forms of teaching. Paul urged all to take part in some way. 1 Corinthians 14:26 reads, “When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation…” The Holy Spirit works more powerfully through this kind of active participation. Paul-Timothy studies describe a variety of learning activities for the worship time.

Arrange chairs in a circle or half circle, so that everyone can see each other.

People learn more when you ask questions and let them freely discuss the answers.

Do not let one or two persons do all the talking. Respond like this: “Now, let us listen to someone who has not yet spoken. We want to everybody who would like to say something to express their thoughts, give examples or ask questions.”

Do not embarrass people who are shy. If they want to remain silent, then let them.

In small groups, avoid teaching only by lecturing. Lecturing requires experience and fits big groups. When new shepherds lecture, especially if they are young, they often fall into pride; they scold, become dogmatic and make silly rules.

An effective way to learn Scripture is to read the Bible dramatically. Most New Shepherd’s studies, and all Children’s studies, include at least one Bible story that can be read dramatically or acted out. Let others read and act out, if they are able, the conversations in the Bible story. For example, a narrator may read the story of the Wasteful Son (Luke 15:11-32), except for the words that are spoken. Let others read the words of the father, younger son, older son and servant.

Let folks present brief dramas. People learn better when they watch biblical truths being acted out. They learn even more when they act in the drama themselves.

Do not present elaborate productions that require costumes and much rehearsal. So doing would draw attention to the acting instead of the biblical truth.

When the actors are adults or older children, it is often better that they do not memorize the dialogue that they will say, but simply keep in mind the general idea of what to say and do. For example, when dramatizing the story of the Wasteful Son, the Narrator may read or summarize the story, then say, “Hear what the wasteful son says.” Then the wasteful son will read or say his part in his own words. Two children might play the part of the fattened calf. (Put a blanket over them, and let them walk around and make soft cattle noises).

Consider the most influential and often quoted sermon of all time. After teaching the crowd on the seashore, Jesus climbed a mountain with His twelve disciples, where there was no pulpit or chairs. He sat down and held an intimate conversation that came to be known as the famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7).

Write Your Plans

What do you plan to teach when your flock meets next time?






In what ways will you teach in your next worship time, so that the believers, including children, will participate actively in presenting God’s Word?






Guideline 11
Commission New Shepherds in a Biblical Way

The biblical way to commission new shepherds is to lay on hands on them and pray for God’s lasting power.

They should be elder-types who meet the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, which include not being a new convert. They should be proven before commissioning them as permanent shepherding elders.

Some churches have named as shepherds youths who have learned theology in a Bible college but are not proven and lack the respect of the community, as Scripture requires.

Bad things result when men add man-made requirements for new leaders, or fail to follow biblical requirements. Both of these errors bring misery to God’s people.

Train new leaders, even though they do not yet meet the biblical requirements for the laying on of hands as formal commissioning, because they may never meet the requirements without some kind of training. Under the supervision of a more experienced leader, such leaders-in-training can shepherd their own families and small groups of seekers or new believers who join their new congregations. While still unqualified, such men should not be recognized formally as official elders, but merely serve as temporary, provisional shepherds.



Write Your Plans

Who among the new shepherds that you are training might be ready for formal commissioning?