Events as a catalyst for discipleship


(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 on your local church?

Seeing EQUIP as a “catalyst”, affects how we plan every element of the program.

  • Last Saturday, we had our annual practise 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 :) But it’s a great chance to weigh together our teaching of 1 Cor 12-14 and how it applies to life in Sydney today. How do we view gifts? Are some gifts treated more highly than others? Do we value tongues over prophecy? Or something else? What are the questions our teens have about gifts?

  • Thinking together help to refine the pastoral implications more fully than one speaker ever can. We all have different friends with different experiences. 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?

  • Once we’ve heard all the talks, we can then choose songs that best reflect the Biblical ideas that we are pondering. So we are not just having a “big sing” but a “rich sing”. We might even say a creed this year, based on Annabel’s talk on 1 Corinthians 12. Having heard all the talks, we also see possible gaps in background understanding, like what exactly is “tongues” and “prophecy”? So then we’ll add an animation video to help think it through before the talks.

  • For the teens, we’ve prepared a new series of Teen Devotions, based on 1 Corinthians 13 “What is love?. Written by 13 youth leaders and older teen girls, they are looking fantastic! But more importantly, we want the teen girls to take home the resource 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” helps shape 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? Or focus on 1?

  • 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 1 person to open the church, 1 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.