Training and Equipping
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” 9 (Now this, “He ascended” — what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Ephesians 4:7-13 NKJV
Proverbs 22:6 teaches parents to, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” A parent is one who brings up and cares for their offspring or their adopted child. Arguably, with respect to the Church of God, a spiritual parent is one who teaches, trains, and equips spiritual sons according to Paul’s instructions given to the church as outlined in Ephesians 4:11, 12.
Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Five-fold Ministry Gifts) are charged with equipping the saints for the work of the ministry in order to edify the Body of Christ. These ministry gifts can be liken to spiritual parents charged with three primary responsibilities, i.e., to teach, to train, and equip believers.
To teach is to impart knowledge; to explain a truth; and, to cause believers to know something (Jer. 3:15). Training is to cause the believer to grow as desired; to form them by instruction, discipline, or drill (Prov. 22:6). Unlike teaching and training, equipping involves supplying the believer with needed resources to help make them ready to flow into the grace and gift which Christ has given them according to His measure (Eph. 4:7)—to prepare them to prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Rom. 12:1-2).
The most indispensible tool that a spiritual parent (ministry gift) can use to teach, train, and equip is the Word of God, “so that [believers] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).