Addressing the Problem Part I: Handholding or Equipping?
What if I ask you to complete a task for which you have no training?
Let’s say I ask you to re-create Van Gogh’s Starry Night and you must do this in a completely empty room. Sounds odd, right? What would you need? Some paint, probably a canvas and perhaps some painting lessons. What if I tell you that you can only use the resources in the room? How cruel would that be? The room is empty, remember. You have no paint, no canvas, and as may be the case for many, you have no formal training in fine art. I think a similar scenario often takes place in church and life in general.
I have been in situations where I was asked to complete tasks and had no one to orient me about the available resources. In my perception, there were no resources. Even worse were the terrible looks I got when I asked questions seeking orientation. It was only after trips and terrible falls that I gained understanding on how to begin working on the task. It drives me insane when I see people tasked with jobs and no resources or sufficient training is given. How can we expect flowers to flourish if we deprive them of water and light?
Perhaps you have experienced this at a new job. Were you commissioned to take on a project which you have no information or resources to complete? Or, maybe you have been asked to lead a new ministry at church but you have no idea how to run it. Everyone is expecting the best of you but nobody has taken the time to show you the avenues necessary to get stuff done. And, let’s be real, even if you were given all of the resources and information, wouldn’t it be best if someone was there along the way teaching you how? Do you feel like you have been set up for failure? Are you doing this to others?`
At times, we excuse ourselves in not helping the people we are supposed to mentor or disciple. We may say that we don’t want to be “handholding.” We may want the person to mature by figuring things out on their own. We say that we don’t want to be a crutch. I will grant that these are, at times, valid reasons. But, if we are going to be honest, most of the time, these are just excuses. So, what are your real reasons?
Are you afraid of the effort it’s going to take? Ae you afraid that the view someone has of you will be less than perfect? Are you afraid of not having all the answers? Maybe you just don’t know how to equip others because you were never equipped either. I am not sure what your reason is for not equipping others. But, I think it is important for us to do some self-examination and look for areas where we fail in equipping others.
Today I won’t leave you with answers or how to’s but I will leave you with a challenge. I know that our communities have a real problem with equipping each other. So, I challenge you to consider why you haven’t taken part of equipping the people around you. Write it out. Who aren’t you equipping? Write it out. How can you equip them? Write it out.