So, what is the best way to equip someone? An example would be my grandfather. He was a farmer. His father was a farmer. My great-grandfather equipped my grandfather to be a farmer. How did he do that? It happened as they went about their daily lives of planting crops, putting meat in the smokehouse, and vegetables in the cellar. My grandfather did not sit in the living room of his farm house and listen to three-point lectures on raising cotton, castrating calves, and smoking bacon. His father equipped him to be a farmer by providing him the practical skills and knowledge to be a farmer. It was one on one mentoring. I believe that was Jesus’ technique with his disciples.
Another example is when I was flight instructing. When I took on a new student I would spend hours with them. This included discussions or “ground” school on techniques, regulations, and navigation. This was followed by a flight lesson and then a debriefing of the flight. What’s amazing; is that on each flight, I actually let the student fly the airplane. Now you may say, “Of course, how would you learn to fly an airplane unless you were allowed to touch the controls?” Sure, that is self-evident, but apply that to your typical church life and the typical layperson sitting in a pew listening to a sermon every Sunday morning. Ask yourself, “When does he or she get to touch the controls?”
I think the equippers are there… part of the church… probably sitting in pews. Some of them are probably frustrated and don’t understand their role in the body. They can’t preach sermons and they can’t lead “worship”. So, what are they supposed to do? Aren’t those things most important?
What would happen if we told people that the most important thing for the church to do is to make disciples? What would happen if we admitted that preaching sermons and leading “worship” does very little to make disciples? What if we told them that they were responsible for helping one another and others live lives in a way that demonstrates their trust in God? What if we started equipping by example instead of by sermon only? Then, what would happen if we did allow other equippers to take part in the church gathering?