What are Equipping Classes?
Discipleship is not easy. Growing in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ requires work.
Consider these Scriptures:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19–20 ESV)
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:11–16)
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. (Titus 2:1)
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:12–14)
God has made His will for His people clear. He wants us to become mature followers of Christ who understand and obey His Word.
He has called us all as disciple-makers and charged us to teach others to understand and obey His Word. He has called pastors and other leaders within the local church to train and equip disciples until they are mature and discerning. And He has called each one of us to work hard to understand the Bible, to order our lives according to sound doctrine, and to be able to discern truth from error.
The formation of an Equipping Class program is an attempt to lead our congregation to become more educated, mature, equipped, and discerning disciples.
What are Equipping Classes?
Equipping Classes are subject-driven and content-focused classes that take place during the Sunday morning education hour. Rather than attempting to accomplish times of fellowship, prayer, and teaching in 60 minutes, ECs will be primarily used for teaching content. (Community Groups are excellent opportunities to pursue deeper times of fellowship and prayer).
On Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM, students and adults will gather in classes aimed at deepening their understanding of the gospel, the Scriptures, and the Christian life.
*NOTE* Children's Sunday School classes will remain unchanged. They will continue to study The Gospel Project curriculum. Equipping Classes are for students and adults.
Equipping Classes will be available under two categories: Book Studies and Core Studies.
A mentor of mine likes to say, "Nothing is better for God's people than God's Word." No curriculum equips the saints more effectively than God's Word. Some of our Equipping Classes will study verse-by-verse through books of the Bible.
Our Book Study classes will look very similar to other iterations of traditional Sunday morning education programs for adults. Teachers will spend approximately 45 minutes instructing their classes from God's Word.
Core Studies are offered on important subjects related to the Scriptures and the Christian faith: Bible interpretation, Old Testament, New Testament, biblical theology, systematic theology, Christian life and growth, evangelism and missions, and church history. (Imagine Bible college geared for laypeople).
Class content will be provided in a new and exciting format. Participants will watch a lesson during the week and come to class on Sunday morning ready to discuss what they have learned. This approach will help participants really understand the material and apply it to their lives.
Biblical Training is a platform that "provides life-changing courses on the Bible and theology from top biblical professors for people who are passionate about their spiritual growth, for free" (from their website). Courses are taught by professors from 17 different evangelical seminaries. The content is biblically sound, trustworthy, and comprehensive.
The For the Church Institute is a platform "designed to provide accessible theological training to equip, encourage, and edify the local church and beyond" (from their website). FTC Institute is a ministry of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Course content is provided by their professors and by like-minded, biblically faithful preachers and leaders.
Both platforms offer free resources (study guides, outlines, etc.) as well as the opportunity for online discussion and dialogue among participants. Teachers will be able to track your progress, ask and answer questions in the online learning portal, and lead discussions both online and in person.
Most lectures are between 20 and 45 minutes in length and participants will likely be asked to watch one per week. In terms of comparison, we are asking students of God's Word to exchange one episode of a TV show on Netflix for a lesson aimed to aid in spiritual growth.
*NOTE* Youth in grades 7–12 will use a modified curriculum that covers these core subjects and that is geared toward their lives as students.
How Does Enrollment Work?
Classes will be offered on a semester basis. Lord willing, we will begin our first semester of Equipping Classes on Sunday, September 13th.
Before the end of each semester, we will publish a new list of course offerings and open enrollment. You take whatever course you like. This means that some classes will have different people in them each semester. If you like your teacher, you can sign up for their next EC and stay with them as long as you want. You decide what you want to learn.
When an unenrolled guest attends on Sunday morning, they can find a guide to each of our classes at the Welcome Center and someone will be available to answer their questions and suggest a class that might interest them.
You will be able to see a list of course offerings and a clear enrollment process in the coming weeks!
Remember the Goal
The goal of Equipping Classes is to develop mature followers of Christ who understand and obey His Word. We desire that each member and attender at Indian Creek Baptist Church become a more educated, mature, equipped, and discerning disciple. It is our prayer that the Lord uses this ministry to deepen our understanding of the gospel and the Scriptures and to conform us to the image of His Son.
If you have any questions about this ministry or desire to be involved in leading or teaching an Equipping Class, please contact Andrew.