Events as a catalyst for discipleship
“EQUIP IS NOT A ONE HIT WONDER, BUT A USEFUL CATALYST FOR WOMEN’S DISCIPLESHIP IN YOUR CHURCH.”
(Di Warren, EQUIP Night, Feb 2019)
Now’s the time to think about EQUIP19. How can it serve your weekly women’s discipleship at church?
It’s common to treat Christian conferences as “one hit wonders”. We enjoy the buzz of great teaching in the company of a huge crowd of believers. But the real test of a Christian conference is how it builds up the everyday local ministry. A month after the event, what are the ripple effects in your local church?
Seeing EQUIP as a catalyst affects how we plan the program …
Last Saturday, we had our annual practice day, where all our speakers do a dry-run of their talks in front of the whole EQUIP and EQUIP Teens teams. It’s more scary than EQUIP :) It’s a great chance as a team to weigh our teaching of 1 Cor 12-14 and thinking together helps to refine the pastoral implications more fully than one speaker ever can. We all have different friends with different experiences that we are hoping will come to EQUIP. ‘How does this talk speak to a women who’s brand new at church, or feels disconnected at church, or came to faith in a charismatic church? Is there a natural “gospel moment” in at least one of the talks for women who aren’t believers?’.
We asked ourselves, are there resources that we can provide to assist women to keep learning from 1 Cor 12-14 after EQUIP19? This year, we’ve prepared a booklet of Devotions for the teens, based on 1 Corinthians 13 ‘What is love?’. Written by 13 youth leaders and older teen girls - it’s pretty special! But more importantly, we want the girls to take it home and use it to reflect on what they have learnt at EQUIP19, and to encourage a daily habit of personal Bible reading and prayer.
Seeing EQUIP as a catalyst encourages you to think as a Titus 2 “older woman” …
Taking the initiative in gospel conversations with “younger women” is one of the primary responsibilities of “older women”. Comparing notes after EQUIP - what you’ve both learnt, or any applications or questions that have been sparked - can be an easy way to begin those conversations.
Did you know that’s one of the reasons the teens study the same passages as the women at EQUIP? Meaningful inter-generational conversations aren’t easy to begin - especially with teens (!) but the fruit of this kind of personal ministry is priceless and eternal. Stephen Biddulph, author of ‘Raising Girls’, says that “Girls need AUNTIES!”. Girls today have 80% less contact with adult women than previous generations and it’s one of the two main causes of their deterioration in mental health. My suspicion is, that it’s not just teenage girls who need an auntie.
As you make all the arrangements to come along yourself, take some time to ask yourself, ‘Who are the “younger women” that I am seeking to encourage and build up? Would it be helpful to personally invite them to EQUIP or EQUIP Teens?’. Traveling to and from EQUIP together and/or having lunch (or dinner) together on conference day are great ways to create a natural opportunity for those conversations.
Seeing EQUIP as a catalyst might change how you organise EQUIP at your church …
Rather than hoping women will take the initiative to register themselves, and getting the same crowd each year, it’s good to think through each person individually and how EQUIP could work for them.
How should we organise the city group? Will we offer both Daylight and Twilight/Teens?
Should we offer live stream at church for those who can’t come into the city? It can be done very simply. You just ask one person to open the church, one IT savvy person to check the set up the day before, and everyone to BYO lunch!
Having an accessible growing list of the women already registered (eg. on a noticeboard at church) helps to encourage the next wave of women to join in.
Thinking about an opportunity post-EQUIP for further reflection can also be helpful. It’s a time to think more deeply about application together but as you recall the Bible teaching, it’s also an opportunity to share it with women who couldn’t join you at the conference. It can be as simple as getting together to compare notes over coffee and tea in someone’s home.