by Tom Strode
NASHVILLE (BP) — Southern Baptist ethics and leadership training entities are partnering to help pastors and churches address ethical issues from a Gospel perspective.
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) announced Nov. 6 a partnership with Ministry Grid, a service of Lifeway Christian Resources, to provide training for pastors and other church leaders. Ministry Grid is LifeWay’s year-old, web-based video service that enables churches of all sizes to train pastoral staff and lay leaders in customizable ways.
The first three ERLC courses provided through Ministry Grid offer training on sexual ethics, addressing such issues as marriage, homosexuality and pornography. Those courses are: “Embracing Sexuality in a Sex-saturated World;” “Ministry in a Sex-saturated World;” and “Family Matters in a Sex-saturated World.” Another course on sexual ethics is scheduled to be available early in 2015, according to the ERLC.
The videos feature training by ERLC President Russell D. Moore and members of the ERLC Leadership Network Council, such as J.D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area, and Matt Carter, pastor of preaching and vision at Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas.
The ERLC is “delighted to work with Ministry Grid to produce high-quality, low-cost training to pastors and church leaders on sexual ethics,” Daniel Darling, the ERLC’s vice president for communications, said. “Our mission is to serve the church by helping leaders apply the Gospel to moral and ethical issues in the culture. Ministry Grid is the best platform for allowing churches of all sizes to access this training.”
Todd Adkins, LifeWay’s director of leadership, said Ministry Grid is “excited to partner with Dr. Moore and the ERLC to provide much needed training to pastors and churches on some of the most important issues facing the church today. ”
Ministry Grid already has about 400 courses (4,000 individual videos) on a wide variety of topics for churches to use in their training, Barnabas Piper said at a dinner introducing the service during the ERLC’s National Conference on marriage and homosexuality Oct. 27-29 in Nashville. Each course includes from four to a dozen videos, he told about 30 pastors and others attending the conference.
“We exist to serve churches by facilitating training and making it more accessible for every role in the church,” said Piper, brand manager for Ministry Grid.
Only one in four churches in the United States has some form of training or development, according to a LifeWay survey. Ministry Grid seeks to solve the problems that prevent churches from providing training, Piper said.
He said churches report that the major problems with conducting training are:
— Leaders don’t know how to develop a plan for training.
— Neither trainers nor trainees have time.
— The perceived cost is prohibitive.
Ministry Grid addresses those concerns, Piper told the attendees, by providing skillful training through videos that can be accessed at any time by trainees while making it affordable through tiered pricing based on a church’s average weekly attendance. It also enables a pastor or church leader to customize the training for his church and to facilitate and supervise it, he said.
Such training is necessary, Piper said in citing Eph. 4:11-13, because God has uniquely gifted each Christian and given pastors and other church leaders the responsibility for equipping believers to carry out ministry. Also, training has “a direct impact on the health and the unity of the church,” he said. Trained members are better equipped and have a sense of both engagement and investment in the church, he said.
Information on Ministry Grid is available at http://www.ministrygrid.com.