the weblog of Alan Knox

Releasing the equippers

Posted by on Mar 8, 2010 in blog links, discipleship | 10 comments

I loved the question that Jack (from “Flight Level Musings“) asked: “Where are the Equippers?” He gives a couple of good examples about what he means:

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?


10 Comments

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  1. 3-8-2010

    Alan,

    Wait till I scrape the mud off before answering your questions.

  2. 3-8-2010

    How many parents use powerpoint to teach their children how to use a fork?

  3. 3-9-2010

    Aussie John,

    You’ve helped me scrape the mud many times.

    Rick,

    hmmmm… I wonder if that would work…

    -Alan

  4. 3-12-2010

    I like that Scripture is read to large gatherings in Scripture, and think there is worth in that (I’m equating this idea to sermons, which I know isn’t EXACTLY the same). However I think the church has fallen into the same problem public schools have. They rely on a generic and easy formula instead of admitting that every student is different. The suggestion that we can all learn something from a sermon, no matter where we are in our spiritual walk or, is shortsighted IMO. The act of hearing the Word expounded upon might always have the potential to be worshipful, but learning from it is another matter (isn’t it?)

    My wife learns best by reading books. She has stellar reading comprehension. I learn best by doing, NOT sitting and listening. Or reading. Doing looks different to different people in different situations, but it’s usually not sitting in a pew.

    My own attempt at discipleship, in the planning stages, is a retreat for Christian artists (that focuses on mobilizing them into cross-cultural missions): http://theaestheticelevator.com/artist-retreat/. I think it incorporates a lot of what you’re getting at in this post.

  5. 3-12-2010

    We dealt with this very thing last night in our CP/discipleship training. As we dialoged with the people about what church would look like if APEST trained up and sent out disciples to do the same, instead of just weekly services where 2-3 do everything for the rest of us.

  6. 3-12-2010

    Aesthetic Elevator,

    Thanks for letting us know about your retreat for artists. I like the idea alot. I also agree that people learn differently, so we should have different styles of teaching as well.

    Guy,

    How do the traditional churches in your area respond to your training?

    -Alan

  7. 10-31-2012

    The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

  8. 11-1-2012

    Jim,

    That reminds me of this passage:

    And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
    that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
    and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams;
    even on my male servants[c] and female servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:17-18; Joel 2:28-29)

    -Alan

  9. 11-1-2012

    Alan,

    Indeed, we should release the equippers to do as they ought.

    If you said to me, “Donald, I know The Lord has equipped me to be a teacher (Ephesians 4:11 type)”, I would simply say, “Then teach me, Alan. Let’s do this. Teach me and bring forth the strength our Father is giving you for His Body.” I wouldn’t scoff at you. I wouldn’t demand credentials. I wouldn’t seek to stifle you. I would ask you to teach me. If you were not equipped to do so, then it would be an awkward situation, to be sure, but if I treated you in any other fashion I would be robbing you.

    We need to release the equippers. Indeed, indeed.

  10. 11-1-2012

    Donald,

    Very well said. Thank you.

    -Alan