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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Reality

I have written several times about Ephesians 4:11 – 16.  I have talked to a number of my pastor friends.  They agree that because of tradition, job description, and expectations it is virtually impossible for them to do what this passage demands, equip the people in their congregations for the ministry.
Is it better to teach or equip?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Today I was given the opportunity to speak to a group of DMin students at Oral Roberts University.  The class was the foundation of Christian Education.  We talked for an hour about the reality of what the Scripture says that a believer has to do to grow.  We had an animated conversation about what should be done differently.  I mentioned that in a lot of the churches I have attended the pastors and staff were the ones who taught Sunday School.  One of the men in the class said that was to make sure that heresy was not taught in the classes.  I agreed with him that in the community we needed to be concerned about heresy.  I asked him if there was another way for the pastor to combat heresy in the Sunday school.  He responded that the pastor could show the teachers how to study and then give them instruction on how to teach, then observe them, and give them feedback.  In other words the pastor could equip others to teach.  He got the point.  It is Ephesians 4:11 – 16 again.

Whether you are a pastor or a dad or both, we have to equip, arm our people, our children to study the Word of God for themselves.  They need to be able to take a blank sheet of paper, a pen, and a Bible and know what to do to study a passage.  It is not just a good idea it is critically essential for their survival in the Christian life.

One illustration that I did not get to, in the past few weeks I have been in a country that is hostile to Christianity.  I was working with a pastor there to equip his community to study the Bible on their own.  Up to this point they have been completely dependent on his grasp of the Bible.  That is not so different than a great deal of the people in our communities.  But what if he is taken out?  Jailed?  Executed?  How will they then grasp the Word if they have not be equipped to do so?

Likewise, when you are no longer in the picture, will those into whom you have invested know how to stand on their own, or will they flounder?  Your choice.  Teach or equip.

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