We are currently part of a fairly new simple church with about 30% new believers. The other evening, one of them mentioned that a friend had approached him to find out more about his faith. As we discussed how he might handle the situation, it became apparent that only a few of those present had any idea of how to present the Gospel in a relevant way to lead someone else to Christ. We spent much of that evening and our next gathering working on this and practicing in pairs how to handle an opportunity to share our faith.
Ephesians 4 says that the five-fold ministry is to equip the saints for the work of ministry. Do we give people tools they can use in their daily lives to make an impact for the Kingdom of God?
Our friends in India who are dealing with tens of thousands of new believers have a teaching manual with around 50 topics. Each topic has 8-10 major points supported by several Bible verses. These topics are taught in such a way that ordinary people can remember them, put them into practice, and train others.
We do not live in India. Many simple churches are filled with mature believers, but are they equipped with practical skills? Or do they just have intellectual/spiritual knowledge about various Biblical subjects?
Is there a difference between teaching and equipping? I'm not saying that teaching is not important (and this is not a discussion on how teaching happens). But are people being equipped?
During our student days, the Christian group we were part of was trained in all kinds of practical skills. We were trained in personal evangelism by groups such as Campus Crusade, going out onto the streets to witness and lead people to Christ. We learned the Navigators Topical Memory System (a system of learning by heart more than 100 verses). Tony and I went through a training course on how to heal the sick, how to pray for deliverance, how to pray for someone to be filled with the Holy Spirit etc. It was a series of spiritual skills with a practical impact.
My question is, what topics would be covered in a Western manual that equipped people with spiritual skills? I've mentioned a few. What others can you come up with?