Who can you equip so you can empower?

John Shibley continues his third week in his series about getting out of the rut!

Many men come to a stage of their lives that presents a crossroads and a transition from student to teacher. Some accept and embrace that challenge as a blessing, and some resist and deny that opportunity.  Our pride can disqualify us from sharing our wisdom by making us feel like imposters or assuming people will consider us a “know-it-all”.  That lie is part of the enemy’s scheme.  Much like the apostle Paul with his apprentice Timothy, we all have someone we can disciple, teach, coach, or encourage.  You and I have accumulated too many life experiences and learned too many lessons to refrain from investing in others by sowing seeds of knowledge and wisdom.  In fact, there is no better way to snap out of a complacent rut, than to serve and provide value to others.  We have all experienced moments of self-pity or hopelessness that have forced us into a toxic headspace where we sink within ourselves.  Wallowing only creates blinders to the needs of others around us.  I have found it to be extremely cathartic and productive when I flip my focus on its head and reverse my self-centered perspective.  Whether it is one of our children, a protégé at work, or a newer Christian in our men’s group at church, we have a responsibility to serve, equip, and empower those who follow our example.  It was not God’s design for our knowledge and expertise to die with us.  

Question #3:  Who can you equip so you can empower?  A healthy starting point is finding an area of need and beginning to identify ways to serve that person or group of people.  It is imperative that we offer our service before we offer our expertise.  People want to know we can BE about it and not just TALK about it.   When people see that our heart desires to see them succeed and thrive, the door of opportunity to share and guide gradually begins to open.  Our approach is more effective when we come alongside as coaches who encourage rather than authority figures who push.  Sometimes we dress up that pig and claim we are helping.  People usually don’t want to know how much we know until they know how much we care about their advancement and progress.  Jesus chose the twelve and then modeled the behavior he was teaching.  He got in the boat with them.  He exemplified discipleship and ministry.  Rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty in real-world scenarios only strengthens our witness and our message.  It boils down to integrity and if there’s a gap between our words and our actions.  Steady reliability and consistency that people can count on will create a magnetic connection that most people are craving.  It will draw them closer and make them more receptive to our wise guidance and teaching.

As you know, our homes should be the primary starting point (especially if you have children), and where we can snap out of the rut more immediately.  There is no greater or more fertile soil than our children’s minds.  That said, it is important to understand that our voice can be viewed as noise when all we do is train and correct.  It took me years to finally become self-aware enough to think before I instruct.  My misconception was wrapped up in my obsession.  My coach mentality was relatively constant, especially with my sons.  The more I trained and corrected, the more walls between us I constructed.  Eventually, my words fell on deaf ears and I could feel the resentment grow.  My advice is to slow down and realize we are not able to teach them everything for every situation all at once.  In hindsight, my input would have been strategically periodic and I would have displayed more empathy in most situations.  I strongly suggest that fathers commit to understanding their child’s passions and interests, and then make the investment of sharing skills, wisdom and experiences in a way that sharpens their ability and production.  Sometimes our instruction takes the wind out of their sails and stifles their creativity and problem-solving.  Our job is to encourage, share our lessons learned, and lovingly nudge them in the right direction.  You won’t ever regret those seeds you plant in your kids.  


And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.  
2 Timothy 2:2

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  
Mark 10:45



  • Identify what your child is most passionate about and create an activity around that.
  • Self-awareness:  Write three aspects of your coaching/parenting that need adjustments in the direction of empathy and listening skills.
  • Bookend your ‘correction’ or ‘instruction’ statements with positive reinforcement or encouragement and document the response or reception you get.