Equip Disciples was formed to facilitate missions aimed at building up and training Christian leaders who will be able to train others also.
And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful individuals who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2.2)
We see the opportunity and the responsibility for Christians, irrespective of their status as clergy or laity, to participate in Jesus' call to disciple all peoples, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matt. 28:19-20). This begins in one's own home and can extend to the ends of the earth.
There are several components of discipleship that can be observed in the Bible. First, it is greatly related to teaching, practicing, and learning more about God and what pleases Him.
Moses' teaching was refreshing and nourishing like the rain on new grass. "Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants" (Deuteronomy 32:2).
Ezra set a prime example of what discipleship involves. Ezra 7:10 say, "For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel." There are three things here that we learn from Ezra. First he set his heart to study. Discipleship involves preparation and dedication. Second, he studied the Bible. Third, he set out to practice what he learned. And finally, he was in a position to teach others these things. Jesus in a similar way defined spiritual greatness as keeping God's commands and teaching others to do so. "Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:19). So our model for Bible study is to set our hearts to know God's Word, to study it, to practice it, and to teach others.
There are other examples also. The early church, "were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" (Acts 2:42). And Paul mentions the discipling work of Epaphras in Col. 1:3-12, "All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light."
Some time after this, the church went through a period of history called the Dark Ages. During this time, people had to rely on public worship for spiritual nourishment. Most people could not read and did not have a copy of the Scriptures. But when the printing press was invented, all of this began to change.
The Protestant Reformation came about as people began to read and study the Bible for themselves. Key leaders in the faith sought to empower the laity for serving the Lord. One such person was Philip Spener (1635-1705), who was the Father of Pietism. He couraged people to read the Bible in their homes, to form study groups, to keep each other accountable and committed, and to conduct themselves well even if they disagreed with one another. John Wesley (1703-1791) was another man who sought to empower the laity. His mother served as a great example by having small Bible studies in her home. The students of Wesley began to form groups on college campuses which served to keep fellow believers accountable to one another and diligent in serving the Lord.
We share with Paul and these who have come before us, the goal of all discipleship: to form Jesus in the lives of others. Paul has said in Gal. 4:19, "My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you," and in Col. 1:28-29, "We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me."
Equip Disciples was formed to continue the task of discipleship as was passed down to us from the Lord Jesus himself and the examples of those who have come before us. We focus especially on reaching into economically challenged regions and reaching out to believers disadvantaged by legacies of war, persecution, culture, or prejudice. God has not left these peoples behind, and wants to lift them up and strengthen them to become a powerful, dynamic body of believers obedient to his kingship, reaching out to their neighbors and beyond.
Here are some specific objectives and purposes to implement our goal:
to engage in missions and ministries to further God’s Kingdom and the edification of the Body of Christ through training and equipping followers of Jesus;
to facilitate the ministry of local church members in missions by providing a framework and resources for direct mission involvement;
to partner with international believers, ministries, or organizations in discipleship mission work at home or abroad;
to facilitate the development of culturally reproducible training materials such as HIV/AIDS education, theological discipleship materials, trauma counseling, or children’s discipleship materials;
and to provide resources and expert consultation to aid Bible Translation projects across the world.