Monday, March 10, 2014

Equipping the Saints- Best Practices

One of the big challenges that ThoughtWorks was created to address is providing training that works for busy pastors, leaders, and congregations. In my academic work this challenge is combined with a desire to maximize profits - thankfully that hasn't been a concern for us here. As a love gift to our movement, we have been able to put together some curriculum and resources to help get the thinking and doing juices flowing. In Sky Gilbert's recent article (link) he talks about illusion that the internet is the best way forward as a solution for meeting today's education needs. Part of the problem is that we are too busy, and we need to find ways to slow down. Good theology, like any depth exercise, requires time. We wouldn't dream of hurrying into and out of the presence of God? So why do we think that God hasn't made us in that image too? The other critical piece of this is that we do not function best alone as individuals - we were meant to do these things in community. Apart from the historical fact that privatization of religion has led to some damaging expressions of Christianity - the simple verdict of God from scripture is that it is not good for us to be alone. 

Equipping the saints is always done better in groups, at the very least with a face-to-face meeting of the minds component. I like to think that what we do is also a meeting of the hearts - after all we do love praying for each other - but there is much more value in being able to have conversations about our faith and experiences. There are technologies that try to imitate this, but even in the most polite of internet forums a whole missing dimension of communication can lead to very awkward moments. I've seen more than my fair share of those over the years.

So my challenge this week is for you to think about how you are filling that need to deepen your faith, especially your theological reflection on said faith? What ways have you made time for better preparing yourself to "rightly handle the word of truth?" I think it is important. Let's make this our corporate challenge and find better ways to be equipped for every good work God would call us into.

Frank Emanuel - Vineyard ThoughtWorks Canada

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