It’s one thing to teach people what to do and how, but it’s an entirely different experience to give them the equipment to do it on their own.
When I was 16 my grandfather invited me spend the summer working on his new property in central Texas. He would teach me to drive in exchange for manual labor. He was going to make a solid young man out of his big-city grandson. We moved rocks, cleaned out barns, painted, tilled soil, worked on his new barn, and built a deck. Papa was a good teacher. He told me what we were going to do and why; he showed me how to do, and then he let me try and fail. Lastly, he equipped me—meaning eventually he gave me the tools to do the job. He handed me a hammer, gave me a drill, passed me a shovel. See, it’s one thing to teach people what to do and how, but it’s an entirely different experience to give them the equipment to do it on their own.
This is what it means to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. This sort of equipping and resourcing is crucial to the missional movement and is often confused. Content delivery is not the same thing as equipping and resourcing the saints to do the ministry.
Imagine my confusion if my grandfather brought me out to his land, gave me a lecture on building a barn, showed me how to build a barn, coached me on building a barn, but never gave me a hammer and nails. This is often how we disciple people, even in the missional community movement. We invite people in, we cast vision, we teach how to make disciples, we show them how to make disciples . . . but we fail to give them the equipment for ministry.
I’ve taken a survey of the four Gospels looking for the types of tools, resources, and models Jesus gave His disciples as He taught and equipped them for the work of the ministry. He gave them reusable, transferable, and scaleable resources. Here are two of my favorite examples from the Gospel of Luke:
A Model for Prayer (Luke 11)
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.
- Pray to the Father. Pray for His name, glory, and fame.
- Pray for God’s kingdom, not yours.
- Ask (demand, even) God’s provision.
- Seek forgiveness, and you extend forgiveness.
- Pray for protection from temptation.
A Six-Step Missional Engagement and Movement (Luke 10)
- Pray for more laborers for the harvest.
- Go and be sent empty-handed and dependent.
- Be people of peace and seek people of peace.
- Receive hospitality.
- Heal the sick and step into the community’s brokenness.
- Proclaim the Kingdom and the King Jesus.
What tools are required for your disciples?
As you train, model, and send disciples, what tools do they need to be effective? What cheat sheets, primers, prayer models, and missional models do they need?
Need some tools to help equip disciples in your missional community? Here are some resources:
—Start a conversation in the Online Community and get ideas from other communities on mission.
—Strengthening Your Missional Community video series