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Friday, June 15, 2018

Creating Cripples, Part 3

In the last two posts, we have considered how people are trained, equipped to successfully carry out the responsibilities of their work.  Whether it be a professional, such as a doctor, lawyer, or accountant; or whether it be one who works as a mechanic, mowing lawns or digging ditches; all are equipped following a similar process.  They are told what to do, instruction.  Someone checks their work either as they are doing it or else after it is complete observation.  They are given feedback on how that work was done and possibly given pointers on how it can be done more effectively critique.
Creating Cripples, Part 3
The contention here is that the one place that does not happen consistently is in the Body of Christ. 

So what do we do instead?  We lecture.

Whether it be Sunday morning, Wednesday fellowship or Bible study, a small group, etc.  A pervasive pattern is that one teaches and the others listen.

So what happens if there is no one to teach? 

What happens if the pastors and teachers are all arrested and either jailed or executed?  That does happen.

What happens if you are not able to go down to the local Christian bookstore and purchase a commentary on a book of the Bible?  In much of the world that is not possible.

If all we do is proclaim the Word, teach from a lectern, a chair, a book that leads someone through a study that we have already done, or have them watch a video on a device, then we are not equipping them to stand on their own in the Scripture.  Those whose only input is what has been described, are not able to open their Bible and with a blank sheet of paper and a pen begin to successfully study God’s Word.

Teaching a person this way makes that person dependent on more of the same teaching.  In a real sense that dependency has crippled their ability to independently walk with God.

If I am reading the Great Commission correctly, Matthew 28:18 – 20 (here @ Bible Gateway); Luke 24:46 – 49 (here @ Bible Gateway); John 17:18, 20:21 (here @ Bible Gateway), and 2 Timothy 2:2 (here @ Bible Gateway) – and at a significant level the passage we started this with, Ephesians 4:11 – 16 (here @ Bible Gateway).  Then it is the responsibility of leaders not to share what they know, necessarily, rather, it is to equip those to whom the Lord has called them to serve to be able to learn what they know through personal engagement in the Word of God.

To do otherwise, it seems to me, is to perpetuate the creation of dependent cripples in the Body of Christ.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Creating Cripples, Part 2

Two days ago I suggested that we are not doing well as a Body in equipping the saints for the work of service, Ephesians 4:11 – 16 (here @ Bible Gateway).
Creating Cripples, Part 2
I used the example of pilots, doctors, engineers, and accountants as examples of how people are equipped for their professions.  I closed the last post by suggesting that professionals are not the only career paths that are equipped in the way I described, essentially instruction, observation, critique.

Consider any job, any task that is performed for a wage.  Regardless of its complexity, the one who performs it will be told what to do, their work will be checked, and they will be given feedback on how they did.  Whether they are a mechanic or a garbage man, that process will be followed in some form.

Now ask yourself, when was the last time that happened with you in your community of faith.  Let’s consider a simple basic of the Christian life.  Say, having a consistent devotional.  Were you shown how to do that, instructed?  Did someone do it with you to show you how, instruction?  Did someone ask or sit with you to see how you were doing your devotional, observation?  Did they give you encouragement or suggest ways to make your devotional more effective, critique?

Yes?  You are in a significant minority.

No?  Your experience is normal.

If we are not equipping in this manner, what then are we doing and how is it working out?

We will consider that in the next post.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Creating Cripples

One of, if not the core, passages in Ephesians (here @ Bible Gateway) is Ephesians 4:11 – 16 (here @ Bible Gateway).  In no uncertain terms, Paul declares the purpose of leadership in the Body of Christ.  It is not to do the work of service, ministry, rather it is to equip those in the Body, the saints, for that ministry.
Creating Cripples
How are we doing on that?

Much of what I have experienced in the western church has been lecture based.  Whether it be a Sunday morning message, a Sunday school, a Wednesday night meeting, or a small group, there is often one who shares and the others either listen and take notes or else respond to what he says.

That seems to be what serves as equipping in the minds of many leaders.

However, I am willing to wager my next year’s wage (truthfully, not a big wager) that is not the way they were equipped to earn their livelihood.

For example.  I was, for a time, an instructor pilot in the Air Force.  To train pilots we gave them a book to read (true), and then sent them out on the flight line to fly the planes (true or false?).

Should we have followed that process, we would have created multiple smoking holes at the end of the runway.  That is not the way pilots were equipped, trained to fly.  Sure they were given a book that explained how the plane worked.  They also had multiple classes that included tests on the material.  Then, an instructor gets in the plane with them, demonstrating, and walking them through each task they needed to complete to successfully fly the plane.  Then, when they were performing those tasks, the instructor would correct their mistakes as well as offer other techniques for completing the task successfully and safely.

In all of the disciplines of which I am aware be it medical, engineering, accounting, the equipping, training is similar.  Men and women are taught, they practice, and they are given feedback about what they did correctly, what they need to do to correct, and thoughts on what they could do differently to make their practice more effective.  By the way, all of their careers are called practices.

But it is not just “professional” careers that follow this model…

This is getting longer than I anticipated.  We will finish this tomorrow…