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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Process – Part 4a

quipping is similar, if not the same as training.  From that perspective....more at DTTB.

Note: I was out of it for several days when I got back from M D Anderson.  Not sure what was going on, but that is why this is late.

Equipping is similar, if not the same as training.  From that perspective let’s consider what is required to equip or train.  

Some context, I have been trained in aviation, both civilian and military.  I have been trained in mountaineering, backpacking, rappelling, and rock climbing.  I have been trained in theology and bible study.  Further, except for civilian flight, I have trained others in each of those disciplines.

One of my mentors was the director of the Navigator (ministry not flight) training center at Michigan State University and subsequently at The University of Tennessee.  We spent many hours talking about equipping, training people for ministry, from the perspective of what was required to do so and do it well.  As I listened to him and thought through the previous experiences that I had up to that point in my journey, all that he shared was validated by all of the training that I had received up to that point and all that I had after that also fit into his paradigm.

This will require more than one post to cover.  For these comments, I am using equipping and training interchangeably.

At a minimum training requires three things, instruction, observation, and critique.  I am going through Everyday Evangelism training at our church currently, and that training includes these three elements.

The one being equipped must know both the subject matter and the processes that are used to apply the subject matter before they are able to attempt the task for which they are being equipped.  The information can be presented through lecture, reading material, recordings, pictures, or physical demonstration.  

If the equipping is well thought out all three learning styles, visual, aural, and kinesthetic (there are publications that claim more than three learning styles, in skimming these it seems to me that the other learning styles are either combinations of the three primary styles, or else subsets of one or more) will be represented in the equipping.  

For example, if one is giving information about how to tie a figure eight knot, one can explain the knot, while showing a picture of how to tie a figure eight, while demonstrating the method, and giving those learning a rope to attempt to follow the instruction.

Which is a great segue to the second part of equipping, observation, which we will examine in the next post.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Process – Part 4

Note: I am still at MD Anderson, so, there will not be a picture today either.  I will get caught up with the illustration when I get back to my home office

The next word in the process is “Equip”.  This is stated as the purpose of the leadership of the Body in Ephesians 4:11 – 16 (here at Bible Gateway).  Note the structural marker in the English, “for”, that word indicates purpose as well as the Greek word, “προς”, from which it is translated(1).  The implication is that the purpose of the leadership, those gifted to lead a community of faith, is not to do the work of service rather it is to equip those in the community to do the work of service.

Equipping is not the same as preaching, or lecturing.  I know that there are many who may rankle at this statement.  However, in what other part of life are you considered to have understood and been equipped with information because you heard a message on a topic?

In classes in primary, secondary, graduate, and post graduate studies, one is not considered to understand the information unless one passes the test.  In trade schools, one does not pass unless their work is examined and deemed to be acceptable.

It is only in the church that one is considered equipped without measurement.

There are exceptions to this but that has been my experience over the past 50 years.

Prove me wrong.

(1) Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 380.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Process – Part 3a

Note: I am traveling; in Houston for my six-month checkup at MD Anderson.  One of the primary markers for Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia (WM) is IgM (Immunoglobulin M); the normal range of IgM is 35 - 242 mg/dL.  When I was first diagnosed with WM, the IgM level was 1220, or 5 times higher than the high end of normal.  I got the results of blood work drawn this morning, and the IgM level was 233.  The first time since they have been measuring that it has been in the normal range.  That does not mean a cure, this is a chronic condition, at least for now, but something I never expected to see.  So, for those of you who have been praying, thank you, and praise to the Lord for gifting doctors and researchers, many of which do not believe in Him, to develop treatments that are effective in dealing with the emperor of all maladies, cancer.  Also, since I am away from my desktop there will not be a picture.

Last post I shared data for a word study I did on the words that were translated Establish.  Looking through the different usages of the words it seems best to understand Establish as laying a strong foundation for a believer’s relationship with our Lord.

In Part 2 I outlined what I shared with the leaders in another country, as the basic elements to which we need to expose new believers.  While these were developed in the midst of a collegiate ministry in the US, in my experience in several countries and in reading through the Bible, they seem to be basic not just for collegiate ministry but for believers in any culture.  We are exhorted in many places in the New Testament to abide in the Word of God.  Jesus, specifically says that if we abide in His Word, we are His disciples John 8:31 – 32 (here at Bible Gateway).  Three of the eight disciplines, Quiet Time, Bible Study, and Scripture Memory, help one abide in the Word.

Jesus when asked by the disciples, taught them how to pray, Matthew 6:9 – 13 (here at Bible Gateway) (I have written about this here as well).  Further if we examine the prayers of Paul, we will find that he follows the outline that Jesus prescribed.  Further, in Philippians 4:6 -7 (here at Bible Gateway), we are exhorted by Paul to not be anxious but to pray, that again is not limited to the college campus.  

Nor is sharing one’s faith, making the most of the Christian meetings we attend, or the reality and impact of the Lordship of Christ on the life of a believer, something that is unique to any culture.  As a matter of truth, the Bible is counter to all cultures, the USA, college campuses, and whatever other culture you would like to suggest.

The point is – well let me emphasize it with something that happened this morning.  

When I come to MDA I typically fly and catch an Uber to the hotel that is connected to the hospital.  Each time I endeavor to engage the driver, many of which are immigrants, in a conversation that I pray to steer toward the gospel.  This morning my driver was from Benin, which is east of Togo, one of the countries the Lord as allowed me to serve.  In fact there were pastors from Benin in the Togo seminar.  

During the conversation the driver, Sam (not his name), indicated that he was a believer.  I asked what he was doing to be in the Word.  He pointed to his phone and told me how he used You Version to focus on one verse a day.  We talked about the importance of doing that and I asked him why he thought that many in churches do not do what he does.  He immediately responded that the leaders of the churches are not telling people to do so and not telling them how.

I am 100% certain that he has not been reading this blog.  Here is a believer from another culture who has come to the conclusion that many leaders of churches are not exposing or establishing those in their care to that which will create a strong foundation in their walks with God.

This stuff is important.  This stuff applies across cultures.  We need to be doing this