Then How Is A Teacher To Be An Equipper?
After reading my last blog, you might have asked, “What is the role of the teacher in the five fold if they are ‘NOT THE TEACHER’”? It is a different mindset than what the Westernized intellect has established. The key may be found in how we define “equipping”?
Hypothetically, let’s say you want to “explore the North Pole”, the top of the world. How do we prepare you for the trip; how do we equip you? Well, Westernized intellectual thought would say to study, research, dig out all the information we can find about the North Pole, sub-zero weather conditions, climate, etc. We want to “know”, intellectually, everything we can! We go to school, earn a Bachelor’s, Master’s, even a Doctorate Degree in a specified area so that we become experts in the field. We rent a dog sled, because that is how early explorers got there, and go on our journey only to die by hardships; we freeze to death! We knew everything about the journey, but did not “equip” ourselves for survival! It takes more than intellectually “knowing” about a topic, but actually “experiencing” a topic. If we survived enough to recuperate to go on a second expedition, we would invest in proper parkas, insulated boots and specialized gloves, proper heated, motorized equipment instead of dog sleds, etc. We will have learned from “experience” what is needed to succeed. It is a harsh climate out there! Those who follow us can read our written works, our journals, study our efforts, but it would not hurt them to call, visit, interview, and ask in depth questions from us about our “experience”. Even with that, until they “experience” the frigid North for themselves will they truly be able to relate, to “know” what it is all about.
So it is in “learning” about faith in our spiritual journey. Even though we have written accounts from the patriarch, Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob, and accounts of Moses’ journey, Samson’s story, Daniel’s faith adventures, the many prophet’s journey, the disciples walk, and even the church’s history in the book of Acts, we still do not fully understand the truths these men have learned until we “experience it ourselves”! That is where the rubber meets the road; where it all is transformed from theory to actuality.
The drive of a five fold teacher is to “prepare” a person for their personal journey that he is about to “experience”. To “equip” the person with all he needs for when he is ready to do the journey alone. Walking with a brother/sister in the Lord, beside him, next to him through life’s experiences, teaching Kingdom of God principles to practical life applications is Jesus method of teaching his disciples. When the teacher is gone, hopefully you can stand on your own for he has “prepared” you to do so. It is more than mentoring, for IJohn 3:16 says we ought to “lay down our lives for our brethren”. I have had several Christian mentors in my life, but they were not willing to sacrificially lay down their lives for me when needed. Jesus, the ultimate teacher, was ready to “lay down his life” so his pupils, students, disciples, apostles, so they could stand on their own after his resurrection and ascension. He had prepared them.
He also “equipped” them. He gave them everything that they needed upon his departure to stand on their own. The same Spirit that descended upon Him at his baptism was given to them when the Holy Spirit fell upon them! He had been led by the Spirit to the dessert, to places of quietness, to crowded areas, places of mass ministry, to the sick to heal them, and even to Jerusalem to the Cross to fulfill his life’s calling! He has given each Christian believer that same Holy Spirit to “teach him all things”, to “say the right things for them when needed”, to “lead them, guide them”. He has “equipped” them with “spiritual gifts” for effective communications with Him and through Him. He has given them “faith”, “hope”, “love”, “peace”, “spiritual armor”, purpose, etc. Like the parka’s, transportation, etc. of the North Pole explorers, Jesus has given those things not only to “survive”, but those things needed to “strive”, to succeed to the goal!
The ultimate dream of a five fold teacher is to have his students “experience” God, faith, agape love, forgiveness, repentance, righteousness, holiness, obedience, etc. on his own, using the principles of the kingdom of God that they were taught when walking next to them in life’s experiences. When they “experience” God on their own, standing firm in the faith, moving forward in the Spirit, toward the goal, the prize of the Kingdom, Jesus, as a five fold teacher you can have the satisfaction that you have succeeded! That is the goal of a five fold teacher.