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Buckets and Drips: The Essentials of Effective Training

by Dave Miller and Mark Goering

In the dynamic world of church leadership and mission work, the concepts of "bucket" and "drip" training have emerged as essential strategies. These training methods not only enhance the skills of church leaders but also ensure sustainable growth and impact. This blog explores the principles behind bucket and drip training, their interplay, and practical implementation for effective church leadership development.

Understanding Bucket Training

Definition and Purpose

Bucket training refers to concentrated, high-intensity training events. These events, such as workshops or retreats, gather participants for focused learning experiences over a short duration, typically ranging from a few hours to several days. The primary purpose of bucket training is to provide a deep dive into specific topics, allowing participants to immerse themselves fully in the learning process.

Benefits of Bucket Training

  1. Intensive Learning Environment: By focusing on a specific topic for an extended period, participants can gain a thorough understanding and develop new skills more effectively.

  2. Networking Opportunities: Bucket training events bring together individuals with shared interests and goals, fostering a sense of community and collaboration. This environment encourages the exchange of ideas and strategies.

  3. Motivation and Inspiration: Being in a room with like-minded individuals who share similar challenges and aspirations can reignite participants' passion and commitment to their mission.

Examples of Bucket Training

  • Gospel Conversations Training: A day-and-a-half event focused on teaching participants how to engage in meaningful gospel conversations.

  • Disciple Making Training: This training provides short-term discipleship tools, helping participants guide new believers through their spiritual journey.

  • Four Fields Intensive: A comprehensive training covering entry, gospeling, discipleship, church formation, and leadership development.

  • Five T's Strategy Training: A higher-level strategic training that helps participants coordinate and collaborate on mission work effectively.


The Concept of Drip Training

Definition and Purpose

Drip training, on the other hand, is an ongoing, incremental training method that occurs in the field. It involves continuous coaching, feedback, and problem-solving, supporting individuals as they apply their learning in real-time. Drip training is essential for ensuring that the knowledge and skills gained during bucket training are effectively integrated into daily practice.

Benefits of Drip Training

  1. Continuous Support: Drip training provides ongoing guidance, helping individuals overcome challenges and refine their skills.

  2. Personalized Learning: This method adapts to the specific needs and pace of each participant, ensuring that they receive the support they need when they need it.

  3. Practical Application: Drip training emphasizes real-world application, allowing participants to practice and master new skills in their actual work environment.

Practical Implementation of Drip Training

In practice, drip training involves regular check-ins, coaching sessions, and on-the-job training. For example, in New York, drip training sessions might take place in a coffee shop owned by a local church, where participants can engage in discussions, study scripture, and share their experiences in a relaxed, supportive setting.


The Macro and Micro Pendulum Swing

Connecting Macro and Micro Approaches

The interplay between macro (bucket) and micro (drip) training methods is crucial for effective church leadership development. Macro environments, created through bucket training, provide a broad, high-level view and foster a sense of community and shared purpose. Conversely, micro environments, facilitated by drip training, offer the personalized support and flexibility needed for individuals to apply what they have learned and achieve sustained impact.

The Pendulum Effect

The transition from macro to micro and back again creates a pendulum effect, where the momentum gained from bucket training is reinforced and expanded through drip training. This continuous swing between intensive learning and practical application ensures that participants remain motivated, engaged, and equipped to meet their challenges.

Implementing Bucket and Drip Training: A Strategic Framework

Developing a Comprehensive Pathway

A well-structured training pathway is essential for maximizing the benefits of both bucket and drip training. This pathway should include:

  1. Initial Bucket Training: Start with a foundational event, such as Gospel Conversations Training, to equip participants with basic skills and knowledge.

  2. Follow-Up Drip Training: Provide ongoing support through regular coaching sessions, helping participants apply what they have learned and address any challenges.

  3. Advanced Bucket Training: Offer more in-depth training events, such as Four Fields Intensive, to build on the foundational skills and introduce more complex concepts.

  4. Strategic Drip Training: Continue to support participants as they integrate advanced skills into their work, ensuring they can navigate barriers and achieve their goals.

  5. High-Level Strategy Training: Conclude with strategic training events, like the Five T's Strategy Training, to help participants coordinate their efforts and collaborate effectively on a larger scale.

Practical Tips for Implementation

  • Choose the Right Location: Selecting appropriate venues for bucket and drip training can enhance the learning experience and facilitate networking.

  • Adapt to Context: Tailor the training methods to suit the specific needs and challenges of your context. For example, in urban settings like New York, consider using public spaces that encourage networking and community engagement.

  • Encourage Participation: Foster an inclusive environment where participants feel comfortable sharing their ideas, experiences, and challenges.


Bucket and drip training are powerful tools for church leadership development, each offering unique benefits that complement the other. By leveraging the intensive, high-impact learning of bucket training with the continuous, personalized support of drip training, church leaders can create a dynamic and effective training program. This approach not only enhances individual skills and knowledge but also fosters a sense of community and shared purpose, driving sustained impact and growth in church leadership and mission work.

As we continue to navigate the challenges and opportunities in church leadership, the integration of bucket and drip training will be crucial for achieving our goals and fulfilling the Great Commission. By embracing these training methods, we can ensure that our leaders are equipped, motivated, and supported to make a lasting impact in their communities and beyond.



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