Are we missing the big D?
Increase Equipper Lewis Varley reflects on TEE / Theological Education by Extension -
and 'the big D'!
PHOTO: SIX OF THE NINETEEN PARTICIPANTS IN TEE TRAINING AT OAMARU LAST MONTH
Sometimes we don’t realise we’re missing something until… well, until we realise we’re missing it!
I wonder if that can sometimes happen in church life when it comes to discipleship. All sorts of good things can happen in church, but are they discipleship?
The big D!
What comes to mind when you think of that word?
Maybe… people being together, learning from each other, being guided, helping each other to grow, reflecting, going deeper, doing life together under God’s kingship.
Perhaps one problem with the big D is that it just feels D-for-Daunting! Not enough time, not enough emotional energy, and not enough wisdom!
So we need help.
One of the (but not the only) tried-and-trusted big-D tools that has been around for 60 years is Theological Education by Extension (often known nowadays as 'Tools to Equip and Empower'). TEE began in Latin America in the early 1960s and quickly spread around the world, and today TEE is used by hundreds of thousands of people in dozens of different languages across six continents.
Some of us have been trying to grow this little plant in Aotearoa-New Zealand for the last five years. To be honest, it’s slow going… like trying to grow a tulip in the tundra. But we’re still excited!
In March we (the loftily named TEE-Aotearoa, which comprises four of us and an office which is our cupboard-under-the-stairs at home) held our fifth TEE tutor training in Oamaru on the South Island of New Zealand. Over a day and a bit 19 participants – Kiwis from NZ, the Philippines, the UK and Mauritius – joined us to learn how to lead an interactive TEE group.
We were encouraged because the participants saw, by the end of the day, that here is a tool they could use (and pretty much anyone can use, if properly trained) to build up God’s people in the local church.
A big-D tool that works, tried and tested all around the world for six decades, leading to discipleship which is both whole-life and life-long.
So why not pray about giving it a go in your church setting or ministry role?
Because sometimes we don’t realise we’re missing something until… well, until we realise we’re missing it!
PHOTO: PARTICIPANTS AT THE TEE TRAINING IN OAMARU LAST MONTH - INCLUDING KIWIS FROM NEW ZEALAND, THE PHILIPPINES, THE UK AND MAURITIUS!