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The Secret Sauce of Event Training: The Second 10

by Chuck Wood

Jeff and Angie Sundell, Troy and Rachel Long Cooper, and Deb and I recently spent some time reviewing the formation and growth of NPL over the last 10 years. One of our key takeaways was the power of Event Training. I’d like to start sharing why I think Event Training was so crucial to the world-wide vision we now call NoPlaceLeft.

11. Getting Sundelled

Jeff Sundell knows how to train trainers. Time and time again we would be minding our own business as a student and Jeff would come up behind one of us and whisper in our ear, “You’re teaching the next module.” What?! It was uncomfortable and nerve racking. It was testing the trainer’s metal. Were we training from experience or was it just theory?  We joke about being “Sundelled” but believe it or not we loved the challenge. It developed a sense of comradery and confidence. Challenge and stretch your trainers.

12. Reproduce Everything

I had a good mentor as a young disciple. He taught me to reproduce everything. Monkey see, monkey do. So when I started attending NPL trainings, I just brought it back to San Antonio and reproduced it. I went to a 411, I came back and trained someone else in 411. I went to a Mid-Level, I came back and trained a Mid-Level. And don’t think you have to reproduce all of it right away. Just start reproducing what you can AND train others to start reproducing the same.

13. Three Touch Training

Troy Cooper started rolling out “Three Touch Trainings.” Pure Genius! The first training, the “first touch,” he and his team would do 100% of the training. The second training was 50% his team and 50% new trainers from those who attended the first training. And the third training, the “third touch,” was 100% new trainers from the previous trainings and Troy’s team just watched and gave feedback. Remember what I said about the new trainer being the focus? BOOM!

14. No Application, No Bueno

Every training day ends with a “So what are you going to do about it” session. Trainees pray, write, and share their goals with one another. They are not cold hard goals that can’t be changed but they are the first steps toward applying what they have learned. Always (and I mean always) leave space in the training for people to reflect and pray about how they are going to put their training into action. Help them be a “Doer.”

15. Know the Cornerstone!

Each training has a “Cornerstone” event or module. For the Gospel Conversation Training, it is going out and actually sharing the gospel. For a Four Fields Intensive, it’s the Luke/Acts Bible study (the Biblical basis for a movement strategy). And for a Mid-Level, it’s Iron on Iron, a collaborative assessment and problem solving tool. When you develop a schedule for training you’ll have to make some cuts. You’re not going to have time to train everything. You can unwittingly cut the cornerstone. Keep the Cornerstone!

16. Make It About Jesus

Speaking of cornerstones, Jesus is THE Cornerstone. (Eph 2.19-20) We must make sure that our training elevates and glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. That may seem like a “No Brainer” but believe me, if we are not careful, we can completely ignore the King of kings. A quick example: Paul’s journeys are cool and we can learn great ministry strategy from them. But don’t let it get past your trainees, it was Jesus’ pattern that the apostle followed in an effort to preach and glorify HIS name.

17. Know the Punchline

Ever tell a joke and forget the punchline? Embarrassing, right? Well, I’ve taught training modules and forgot to make sure I hit the punchline. The punchline of a training module is the main point. It can be the “why” we do something. Or it can be the distilled simplified “way” to do something. For example, the punchline for the 411 is for people to be confident, competent, and committed to sharing the gospel. Or The Four Fields is a Biblical pattern for ministry and the Jesus instituted it. If you want more examples of punchlines, click on the link; PUNCHLINES

18. 4th Times a Charm

Have you ever felt like you’ve learned something and them your second time hearing it you think to yourself, “Wow, was I even paying attention the first time?” And then around the 3rd and 4th time, you’re wondering how much more you’re missing? NPL trainings are a lot like that. About the 3rd or 4th time things begin to click. Repetition is a key element of learning. As trainers, we need to be patient and provide the “reps” that people need for the movement principles to soak in.

19. Keep It Simple

Everyone wants to add something. The trick to effectiveness is not to cover every conceivable aspect of any particular subject. The trick is to boil it down to its irreducible minimum.

20. It Doesn't Have to Be Big

You don’t have to have a hundred people at your training. We want big and flashy in order to feel like we’ve been successful. Actually a living room full of people or one to two people sitting across from you at a coffee shop is more personal, manageable, and sustainable. Do you have a few people who want training? Don’t let big get in the way. Get after it!



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