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[ equip the laos ]

camping equipmentIf Christian believers are to minister in Christ's name, they have to be able to do so.  St Paul, writing to the young church in Ephesus, expressed it this way: 
(Quotation 1 è)

This letter is believed to be more of a round-robin to a number of churches - this is normative teaching meant for all the church then ... and now?
Jesus Christ has given the church all that it needs to grow, and a clear vision of all the saints equipped for ministry.  (‘Saint’ is simply an alternative word for ‘disciple’, meaning one who is being sanctified - made holy - by the Holy Spirit.  If you have difficulty with this word, look at 1 Cor 1:2 and Romans 1:7, as well as the introductory verses to a number of Paul's other letters.) 

Quotation 1: The gifts he [Jesus] gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people's trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.  But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body's growth in building itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)

What is necessary to equip the saints for the work of ministry?  It is interesting that the church seems to have paid so little attention to this matter, at least so far as we at  allbelievers  are aware.  The 1983 Tiller report A Strategy for the Church's Ministry 6 makes the following observations: 
(Quotation 2 è)


Follow this link to check out the  allbelievers draft for a lifelong discipleship curriculum.

Follow this link to find out how you can grow with others through eLearning.

Quotation 2:     An agreed curriculum
In every place something is needed which will be adequate to prepare all God’s people for the work of Christian service (Eph  4:12, GNB; alternative translation = of ministry). For this purpose it would be possible to suggest a nationally recognized general training scheme...
… whereas its most important contribution would be to encourage a developing lay consciousness that all baptised Christians already have a ministry in their daily environment which can be strengthened through training...  
...For these reasons it is better to think in terms of general training continuing to be provided through local courses, some parish-based, some deanery-based, and some diocesan-based according to the availability of resources. There would, however, be great benefits if it proved possible to devise some agreed curriculum to which all such general training might relate … (paras 260-263)

Zooming forward to 1999, the publication Christian Education and Training for the 21st Century 7, we note that: 
(Quotation 3 è)

This Church of England picture is, to a greater or lesser extent, imaged in other mainstream churches.  At the same time there are models of discipleship / ministry training being explored both by independent organisations like Workshop and by some of the new churches. 

Quotation 3: There is no systematic pattern of adult education in the Church, no ‘national curriculum’. What is GOOD about this is the energy, imagination and freedom to develop local or diocesan schemes of high quality which are exactly tailored to the needs of the local context. ... But there is a PRICE TO PAY.  Provision is patchy and standards vary.  It is not possible to say that all or even most congregations see education and growth in the faith as an essential part of their calling.  Few parishes have an education budget.  Or even a policy ... or a vision?  Training may simply be seen as an optional extra for those who like that kind of thing.

The  allbelievers  site wants to promote discussion on a curriculum for lifelong learning.  Ultimately the goal is to make eLearning available via www.equipforministry.org for most if not all of the elements of that curriculum.  Clearly words like ‘curriculum’ don't sit comfortably in a discussion about Christian ministry - it's as much about formation and growth as about teaching and learning.  But where resources are in short supply, eLearning can provide an available and relatively cheap route to learning, and this within a community of other believers sharing the same part of the journey.