Church in Many Houses Read Through ch. 7

Chapter 7: Moving From Educating to Equipping

Summary: Educating is not the same as equipping. One can be educated but remain separated from obedience in the Great Commission. We must understand the difference between educating and equipping and provide a strategic plan to equip believers to follow Christ.

For many Christians, “discipleship” is synonymous with “education”. As a result of this mindset, the classroom has become the center of discipleship in most churches. When people think of advancing spiritually they most often think of learning more about biblical and theological matters. (Location: 1,217)

Note:The first half of this paragraph is true. However, the second half indicates that biblical and theological matters are not practical. We need to jettison the first idea of education equals discipleship without destroying the second, that discipleship is based upon, and a deeper understanding of, biblical and theological truth.

Not all cell churches are structured alike, but one trait they share is the goal of mobilizing each member to be a disciple who can make disciples. Cell churches seek to help each member adopt both the character of Christ (the Great Commandment), and the mission of Christ (the Great Commission). (Location: 1,224)

Note:Our problem seems to be that we think “teaching” ends at the reception of knowledge. In the Great Commission, Jesus was teaching his disciples. And the teaching that they were receiving was to teach and train others. But…it is easier to just go and sit and listen so we structure our churches around that concept of discipleship.

Amazingly, in just three years of ministry he literally changed the world. (Location: 1,228)

Note:This may seem picky, but it is important. Jesus didn’t change the world in those three years. What he did shook the world to its core through the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection. The entire cosmos was reeling. This is true. But Jesus said himself that the spread of this news, this act of war, would be at the hands of his followers who were indwelt, protected, convicted, secured, motivated, and kept by His Spirit. And this is who we have today, leading us, teaching us, transforming us. The Holy Spirit continues to change the world – starting with us.

People are educated when they know something. People are equipped when they can do something with their knowledge. (Location: 1,251)

Note:I need to review every part of my ministry in light of this simple truth.

In reality, I had been shaped more by the academic thrust of the Reformation era than the strategy of Jesus. (Location: 1,258)

Note:Careful with this one. I don’t think a full picture of the Reformation includes the idea that they were merely intellectual snobs. I think it can be argued, defended, and proved that the Reformers were the exact opposite.

As a pastor, I am always pleased to hear people say they want to grow spiritually. However, I have discovered that a great many Christians equate “going deeper” with acquiring new information. This is not necessarily an accurate equation. (Location: 1,288)

Note:This has been repeated multiple times in this book, and for good reason. “Going deeper” when my heart is not right is an easy way to sidestep the practical application of Scripture when I am being convicted. The issue isn’t studying more, it is me. I often would rather study more than repent.

When we teach people too often, the hearers frequently do not have enough time to grapple with the text and apply it to daily life. (Location: 1,305)

Note:It was once explained to me as the “incredible cumulative weight of the moral imperative.” If the people are hearing from me “you must…you must…you must…” all the time, they will slowly shut down and resign themselves to “I can’t…I can’t…I can’t.” That is why there is a warrant to not bring new teachings frequently throughout the week but rather apply the same one. And also why there is a warrant to teach “Because of Christ you can…”

Can I really be expected to change my life several different ways each week? Or are we being educated beyond our obedience? (Location: 1,309)

Note:Obviously it is the Spirit who changes us, but I must be an active participant! And my flesh is weak.

There are several benefits to using a sermon-based group curriculum, including: a) There is no teaching pressure placed on the group leader. A group leader is not a teacher. Since the pastor has already done the teaching during the weekend sermon, the group leader merely facilitates as the group members discuss how to apply it…b) Using sermon-based questions promotes worship attendance…c) Each lesson is self-contained…d) The lessons are application oriented.

The newly emerging leader is called an “apprentice” instead of an “assistant” in order to communicate that this person is a trainee not just a helper. (Location: 1,356)

The main difference between the cell and the non-cell church approach to teaching lies in the fact that in the cell church a member cannot opt out of leading a group and still participate in Bible study classes. The cell church offers classes only for those who are (or who are preparing to become) group leaders. This approach helps to prevent members from adopting a “sit-and-soak” mentality. It also sends the message that helping others grow (as a group leader) is an indispensable part of normal Christian development. (Location: 1,425)

Note:I wonder what would happen if we put restrictions on teaching times. Would the average believer in the congregation feel a relief from not “having” to attend a class? Or would it encourage them to move forward in their Christian faith? Perhaps there is something else they would feel?