There is an overwhelming need for trained pastors to interpret and teach God’s Word faithful to His people around the world. It is estimated that nearly 85 percent of pastors worldwide lack theological education and pastoral training. This is nothing short of a gospel crisis. Hearts, Heads, & Hands seeks to combat this crisis by providing theological and pastoral training in a model that can be taught in various structures and to audiences for various contexts, thus equipping Christians, pastors, and new believers to make disciples who make disciples in obedience to the Great Commission.

I previously began introducing the framework for the topics that a disciple should know by sharing brief examples from Modules 1 and 2 of Hearts, Heads, & Hands. I’m pleased to continue sharing a portion of the content in the hope that it will encourage you to systemically make disciples. In this module sample, we will explore the personal spiritual discipline of worship (the heart), Christian doctrine (the head), and shepherding God’s flock (the hands). 

The Heart: Worship

Worship is the heartfelt expression of love, adoration, honor, veneration, and reverence towards God. These postures should characterize the entirety of the pastor’s life. The Bible serves as our textbook for worship. In it, God reveals how he is to be worshipped—in spirit and in truth, through Jesus Christ. He gives us words and emotions for the expression of our worship—the Psalms. And he gives us right examples—Abraham, Daniel, David, Paul, and Jesus—as well as wrong examples of worship.

Certainly God has a place of great worth in your students’ lives. They love Him and want to grow in their relationship with Him. So why spend time teaching pastors that this should be a fundamental component of their lives? Unfortunately, we cannot assume any level of spiritual formation; rather, we must model, mentor, and mold pastors to value daily worship of the Lord.

The “shoulds and oughts” are not automatic in a fallen world. Personal worship is a discipline, and just like any healthy discipline, we must train ourselves until it becomes habit and then continue to discipline ourselves as an ingrained pattern of life. We must strive to keep the world from forcing us into its mold and instead earnestly seek to become like Jesus, becoming conformed to His image. Don Whitney wrote that worship is a spiritual discipline that is both “an end and a means. The worship of God is an end in itself because to worship, as we’ve defined it, is to focus on and respond to God. . . . But worship is also a means in the sense that it is a means to godliness.”[1]

We must strive after worship. God deserves it; He demands it; He forbids granting it to another, and selfishly, our sincere, single-minded focus on Him enables us to worship in a way that becomes a pathway to peace and joy.

The Head: Christian Doctrine

One of the most important parts of pastoral training is teaching Christian doctrine. There are two major approaches for teaching Christian doctrine—systematic theology and biblical theology–and many different aspects of doctrine taught through either of those approaches. During my time as a missionary in Ecuador, I would often teach an all-day workshop in local churches entitled “Basic Bible Doctrines.” The people were very interested and seemed to profit by it, but I always felt it was too inadequate for all they really needed to know. In fact it was, but it was at least a good primer and an introduction that often whetted their appetites for more education. The one-week theological course outlined in this module is not much more than that. But we have been gratified to see that graduates from our basic cycle desire to continue their education and request advanced training.

To teachers who feel that this is just too basic a course for such necessary information, let me say that I fully agree. But remember that some of our pastor-students have asked questions such as, “When was Jesus saved, before or after the resurrection?” and “What was that lady’s name that saved and baptized Jesus?” Such questions reveal their sad lack of doctrinal awareness and biblical literacy, and a course such as this week’s instruction will hopefully spur them on to desire more, give them a basic foundation on which to build future teaching, and harmonize with the theology they learned as you taught them the Old and New Testament overviews. These are simply foundational doctrines that we want pastors to know and be able to explain.

In Module 3 of Hearts, Heads, & Hands, a variety of doctrines are explored, including the doctrines of: revelation, nature and attributes of God, the Trinity, creation, providence, Jesus’ deity, atonement, humanity and the fall, salvation, repentance, and the church among many others.

The Hands: Shepherding God’s Flock

Many of your students are either leading God’s people now or are preparing themselves to be able to do so. What is it to lead God’s people? What does the Bible have to say about shepherds and shepherding?

One of the key roles of the pastor is to shepherd God’s flock. Many assume that the leadership styles that are so effective in contemporary business models may be seamlessly incorporated and employed when shepherding the church. While there is much to learn from effective models of leadership, these are not to be imported wholesale into the church and mimicked by ministers for shepherding God’s flock.

Acts 20:28 says, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock that the Holy Spirit has appointed you to as overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which he purchased with his own blood.” The church does not belong to her pastor—she belongs to God, who purchased her with his blood. Thus, the pastor shepherds the flock as a steward, a servant, and a gracious guide.

In order to meet the needs of the global church and fulfill the Great Commission, we must train pastors in a holistic fashion—hearts, heads, and hands. This complete module studies worship, peace, and just thought for the pastor’s heart, Christian doctrine for the pastor’s head, and shepherding God’s flock for the pastor’s hands.

[1] Whitney, Personal Spiritual Disciplines, 114.

Editor’s Note: To learn more about this resource, visit

Dr. David Sills

Dr. David Sills is the founder and president of Reaching & Teaching International Ministries, a missions professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, speaker, and author.

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