There are aspects of training that are the same whether you are training someone to greet new visitors or training someone how to preach. The basic pattern of Model, Assist, Watch, Leave (M.A.W.L.) is universal in its application. Training Wheels use this model to help in both our leadership development and disciple making. They are cards we hand to people in our ministry with the charge to train someone in something. That “someone” and “something” can be determined by the ministry leader, spotting a critical need, or it can be left to the trainer to decide. The result you want is to have a ministry full of capable trainers, something every growing ministry needs. Let’s examine each step.
Trainers have to learn to take the initiative in training. This includes identifying and approaching new people to train in particular areas. Ministry leaders can set up training relationships but it’s best to “train” the trainers to take responsibility for the whole process. Once they approach someone about training and they have accepted, the trainer can write the trainees name in the space provided and the date the invitation was made by “invite them.”
The first step in training is letting the trainee see either the job or the skill they will be trained in. If you want to teach someone to pray, let them hear you pray. If you want them to learn how to your run sound during service, let them watch you run sound. You’ll know you are ready to move on to the next step when the trainee can accurately describe what they see to the trainer. That may be the first time they see it or the fifth time, depending on the task and the trainee. Mark the date this finally happens next to “show them.”
After you’ve shown them the task, set up a time to let them take some responsibility in the task or skill. Let them try to do what they can while you work along side them and assist as necessary. This may take a few times before you’re ready to take the next step. You’ll know you’re ready when they can accomplish the whole task with minimal help from the trainer. When you’ve achieved this, write the date next to “help them.”
This is probably the most difficult step for the trainer. Set up a time for the trainee to perform the whole task on their own with no help from the trainer. The trainer is only there to watch the trainee and offer feedback after the activity.
Before any feedback is offered the trainer should ask the trainee:
- What did you think you did well?
- Where do you think you need some work?
- What will help you get better or more comfortable?
After discussing their answers and offering feedback of their own, put the date this was done next to “watch them.”
This is graduation day for the trainee. They will do the activity without the supervision of the trainer. Helpful tips and fielding questions may continue but the trainee should be proficient enough to do the activity on their own. They also are now eligible to be a trainer themselves. After marking the date, the training wheel card can be turned back into the ministry leader. Just for fun, you can offer a reward for each card turned in.
The advantage of using this approach is how it can be applied in so many areas. Once someone becomes an expert trainer in door greeting, it’s not so hard to convince them they can train anyone in something else they know how to do. The easy crossover from ministry skills training to discipleship training makes it a worthwhile tool to have in your ministry.