A Pastoral Heaviness

You know how passionate I am about discipleship, and how concerned I am that we have had multiple generations now that have been on a steady diet of milk without ever really moving to meat.  Sometimes that becomes apparent to me in the oddest of ways.  Like today.

Yesterday we celebrated Christian communion.  I spoke from Leviticus 16 about the Day of Atonement.  I made essentially three points:

1.  Atonement had to be made for all the people of Israel, including Aaron the High Priest.  He was not perfect.  He sinned and his personal sin had to be addressed before He could offer sacrifices for others.  Moreover, the Levitical priests who offered sin offerings on behalf of others, they had to be cleansed, too.  So did the  Tent of Meeting itself, and the altar on which sacrifice was made, even the Holy of Holies.  All had to be cleansed, because it was “among them in the midst of their uncleanness.”

I showed how this pictured the coming Messiah, who could offer Himself as a sacrifice of atonement, on His own merit, because He was the only one who was truly clean.  I noted that the other sacrifices had to be offered continually because the blood of bulls and goats could never truly take away sin, but Jesus’ sacrifice was once for all because his sacrifice was actual, not symbolic.

2.  The goat that was chosen to be sacrificed demonstrates God’s justice.  We hear the word “priest” and we think of a nice man in a black suit with a clerical collar.  He’s refined and benign and civilized.  But in the OT, a priest butchered animals all day every day.  It was bloody and gory and violent.  When we consider all that gruesome bloodshed, we come to a better view of how God views sin with bitter hatred and wrath.  And we come to some understanding that it is actually merciful for God to pour out that wrath and visit that justice upon an animal instead of on the humans who are really and truly guilty.

Again, I showed how this related to Christ.  God poured out His wrath upon one who was truly innocent instead of pouring it out on the entire human race.  I think this is the point of Rom. 3:23-26: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

God could not just wink at the monstrosity of sin still be just.  He did not just ignore sin, He dealt with it.  And He did so in a way that expresses the true vehemence which He feels toward sin.  He turned His face away from His own Son.  Jesus did more than die.  He bore the righteous wrath of God against sin.

How beautifully Thomas Kelly captured that thought in these words from his hymn, “Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted”:

Many hands were raised to wound him

None would interpose to save; 

But the deepest stroke that pierced him

Was the stroke that Justice gave.

Ye who think of sin but lightly,

Nor suppose the evil great

Here may view its nature rightly,

Here its guilt may estimate.

3.  Finally, I talked about the scapegoat.  If the goat of sacrifice pictures God’s wrath against sin, this goat represents God’s compassion for sinners.  The picture is so clear any child can see it.  This goat symbolically carries the sins of the people of Israel out into the wilderness, and neither the goat nor the sins he bore would ever be seen or heard from again.  Those sins were gone.

And so it is with Jesus.  Having borne the justice of God in His death, we are forgiven for our sins.  Not symbolically forgiven, but really and truly forgiven.

So why do I speak of pastoral heaviness?  Because of the number of Christians, some who have been followers of Christ for many years and even many decades, came up to speak to me after the service.  I know they meant well and intended to be encouraging about the sermon.  But what they said was hard for me to hear:   “I’ve never heard anything like that in my life.”

How can it be that Christians have not really considered Jesus’ vicarious atonement?  That they’ve never been taught that His passion was foreshadowed in those Old Testament sacrifices, that He was our atoning sacrifice, that He was truly innocent, that He bore the awful hatred of God for sin, and that He forgives so fully and freely that our sins are carried into oblivion, never to be remembered?

I came away convicted.  We have to do a better job.  I have to do a better job.  Pastors, God’s people need to grow up.  And it begins with us.

My Week in Brief

Mar. 16 – OK, so I have to confess to a little jealousy. As Katie McCormick shared her powerful stories today, I looked out to see how you were receiving it. I saw smiles. I saw tears. I saw you caught up in every word. I want it to be what I see every Sunday. So I’m committing to sharing more stories like Jesus, even if I share less info like Paul! :-) And I’m committing to having others tell their stories, too. So … if you would like to share with others what God has done and is doing in your life, please let me know. Your voice should be heard.

Mar. 16 – I had a blast sitting down with Rhett Walker and the band. I like to spend time with artists who come in because I want to get behind the façade, cut through all the fog of celebrity, and hear the human story. And I appreciate when they let me see their heart. Rhett was a misguided youth. But, as his song says: “And in one moment everything changed. Who I was got washed away when mercy found me.” I’m glad God’s mercy found Rhett. I hope it’s found you, too.

Mar. 17 – Pastor Mike and I attended the Ordination Council for Kris Kuriger, the student pastor at Hagood Ave. Kris was examined and knocked it out of the park. My favorite moment: Asked what he thought was the greatest need of youth today, he said: “I think our kids want God in quips. They post these really inspirational messages on Twitter, and then they go out and live any way they want. It’s like they want God in 100 characters or less. They need to slow down and experience God more deeply.” Well said, young man, well said.

Mar. 18 – Pastor Mike and I attended a BBQ luncheon for government officials. I did meet a few, but it turns out God’s reason for me to be there was different. I connected with Sonny Holmes (President of SCBC in 2011) and D. J. Horton (current President), and was blessed by both. I also ran into Pastor Naveen Balakrishnan, who has spoken here before. All of these were rich blessings!

Mar. 18 – Tonight Debi and I attended a Fernando Ortega concert in Augusta. What gifts this man has! What a gift he is! We ran into our friends the Haglers. You may have prayed for them 2 years ago when their daughter died in a drowning accident. It was so very good to see them. I left refreshed though my day had been long.

Mar. 19 – Pastor Phillip Thomas brought a wonderful message at today’s Lenten Service: “Compassion is love in action.” I appreciate this good brother, and this community we serve together.

Mar. 19 – I got my electronic version of LiveIT magazine today and was shocked to see I was quoted in it. Scott Vaughn with the SCBC had called me about Band of Brothers, but I thought it was for in-house assessment purposes, not for publication. Glad I didn’t say anything really dumb!

Mar. 19 – I visited Bobby Mixon in Barnwell Hospital this evening. His blood sugar is too high and he may have an ulcer. Please join me in praying for him.

Mar. 20 – Today as I was in the Mentor Room with my two young men, they looked at the bulletin board with pictures of former mentors and their protégés. Don’t ask me why, but they pointed to a picture of Lee Clamp and asked, “Is that you?” “Why, yes,” I said, “yes it is.” :-)

Mar. 20 – I spoke to Superintendent Jay Grissom and to BPS Principal Donna Selvey about starting a new award for the most improved student for the quarter and also for the school year. I want to call it the “Rising Star” award. We’ll present the student with a certificate and also a gift card to eat out. Maybe you would like to do the same for one of the other schools. If so, let me know and I’ll help you get set up.

Rising Stars

I spoke to School Superintendent Jay Grissom and to BPS Principal Donna Selvey about starting a new award for the most improved student each quarter and also for the school year. I want to call it the “Rising Star” award. We’ll present the student with a certificate and also a gift card to eat out. The student will have his picture in the paper and will receive an invitation to be recognized during a worship service. I’m hopeful that others here will sponsor this award for one of the other schools.

A Day with Presidents and Princes

Yesterday Student Pastor Mike D’Attoma and I had lunch in Columbia at an annual Bar-B-Que Fellowship on the State House Grounds.  The lunch is hosted by The Office of Public Policy and the Christian Life and Public Affairs Committee.  Its always a good occasion to meet legislators and discuss any particular bills moving through the SC General Assembly which may be of interest.

Although I met and spoke to a few government officials, I didn’t discuss politics.   It turns out that I was there for a very different reason.

I happened to sit down next to Sonny Holmes, who served as President of the State Convention in 2011.  I appreciated his tenure and credit him with getting us moving in the direction of the Great Commission Resurgence.  In July of that year, his 33-year-old son was killed in an early morning shooting.  It had to have been an unbelievably difficult year for him and for his family.  We chatted for a few minutes.  I tried to focus on the positive and express my appreciation for his work and the direction in which he led.

After he had eaten and carried on a few conversation, he excused himself to go speak to others.  And who should sit down in the chair but D. J. Horton, the current SCBC President.  I believe that God arranged the upcoming conversation for my benefit.

D. J. is young (36) but wise.  He is still serving his first church, Anderson Mill Road Baptist Church near Spartanburg.  His doctoral work was specifically on preaching.  I told him that I struggled as a preacher.  I believe my spiritual gift is teaching and teachers don’t always make the best preachers.  I told him I have committed to telling more stories as Jesus did, even if it means I disseminate less information like Paul.  I then listened as he spoke for a few minutes in a way that was both helpful and encouraging.  ”The church is dying from information,” he said. “We need less information and more inspiration.”  He noted that with modern technology, people simply don’t need pastors to provide  information because they have it at  their fingertips all the time.  He spoke of great preachers of the past and what they shared in common – an ability to connect with people, not to deliver profound theological treatises.  I came away truly grateful for the discussion and encouraged that this young man was our leader.

I also spent some time with Pastor Naveen Balakrishnan of Hopewell Baptist Church in Adams Run (near Charleston).  He is from India and has spoken at several events which focused on the international community here.  I mentioned to Mike his amazing ability to not only cite the Scriptures, but its reference as well.  I mentioned that when he spoke at our chapel once, I could quote every passage he quoted, and I could probably cite the book of the Bible, but not the exact chapter and verse the way Pastor Naveen does.  He  truly is remarkable.

After returning home from the lunch, Debi and I set out for Augusta to attend a Fernando Ortega concert.  I have been so blessed by his music for so many years.  The concert was undiluted joy for me.  I love the music.  I love the spirit of his ministry.  He is a wonderful composer, arranger, writer, singer, poet and pianist.  His talent is such that he would have been successful in any one of those fields.  To have all of those gifts rolled into one … well, he is a gift from God.  I also discovered that he has another major talent … storytelling.  As he spoke between songs, he was open, personal, humble and hilarious.  I came away thinking I really would like to hang out with him sometimes.  I just felt so full, so happy, so blessed.

As we were looking for our seats, I heard a familiar voice behind me call my name.  I turned to discover Bob and Becky Hagler, with Robert and his wife Sherry Lynn, and Elizabeth and her boyfriend Ben.  The Haglers are such a special family.  They were members of the church in Easley, before moving to Augusta where Bob leads a successful engineering firm.  It was just icing on the cake to see them again.  And I was touched to hear why they were there.  They lost a daughter, Rebecca, two years ago in a tragic drowning accident.  In their heartbreak, Fernando Ortega’s music had brought them comfort.  Becky said it was like his music was a blanket for her.  I can understand that.  I find his music so soothing, so calming.  Debi told me later that Becky had written a card to express to him how much his music meant to her, especially in their time of sorrow.  Attendants had promised to pass the card along to him.  I know they will, and I’m almost as confident that he will respond if she provided a way for him to know how.

So, I spent the day with some of the sharpest, most talented, devout and best people on the planet.  How blessed am I?

Kris Kuriger Ordination Council

Our Barnwell Bamberg Baptist Association holds a “Pastors and Ministers Conference” monthly.  We usually have a speaker.  Today we had an ordination council for Kris Kuriger, the student pastor at Hagood Avenue Baptist Church.  I was truly blessed to take part.

Kris and Mike D’Attoma have a close relationship, as do Ken Catoe and I, and it has led to good things for the Kingdom and for both HABC and FBC.  We’re cooperating together in unprecedented ways.  So I’ve gotten to know Kris fairly well.  In our occasional lunches and discussions, I have heard his heart many times.  Today I heard something more.  I heard depth.

A few things he said that I found noteworthy:

I’ve heard lots of young people say they came from a Christian home.  Kris put it differently.  ”My parents feared the LORD.  They loved God.”  I appreciated that.  I don’t hear many young people talk about the fear of the LORD.

He spoke of a time as a teenager when he was living a double life.  In the 11th grade, his best friend confronted him with this: “I love you and I can’t just keep letting you live this way.”  Wow.  What a faithful friend.

He mentioned in passing that he had recently developed his own personal mission statement: “To help people experience God’s truth and love in everyday life.”  That’s not only well put, it’s true to everything I know of Kris.

And then came the moment that blew me away.  Asked what he thought was the greatest need of youth today, he referenced Twitter: “I think our kids want God in quips.  They post these really inspirational messages on Twitter, and then they go out and live any way they want.  It’s like they want God in 100 characters or less.  They need to slow down and experience God more deeply.”  It reminded me so much of when we were interviewing Ray Selden some ten years ago.  He was asked the same question, and gave a very similar answer that really stuck with me.  ”Our kids’ greatest need is to integrate their faith into their lives.”

At all points today, Kris carried himself very well and it was evident to all.

I told Kris afterward that I love him, I am proud of him, and I am happy for him.  I told Ken what a great job he was doing of mentoring this young man, and that he should be as proud as a papa.  Truly.  I was honored to participate.

Evangelism; Rhett Walker Band

I brought the final sermon in the “Gifted” series today, on the spiritual gift of evangelism.  I spoke briefly, really only defining the gift.  Then, rather than talking more about it, I brought up Katie McCormick and interviewed her.  Katie is a Gideon Auxiliary member and over recent months has had many strange and wonderful encounters when she was able to share her faith with others.  She told the congregation 3 of the stories she has told me.  I looked out to the congregation as she was speaking and I have to admit I wished that I saw that enraptured look every Sunday while I was preaching.  But I sure was happy to see it this Sunday.

Then, in the evening we hosted The Rhett Walker Band at The Merge.  Southern Rock Gospel isn’t exactly my personal cup of tea, but even I appreciated their talents and their spirit.  I had an opportunity to eat dinner with the band along with Beth and Marie.  It was fun to see my girls be a little star-struck.  And it was a joy to hear the guys tell their stories, speak of their families, and give a little of themselves in a personal way.  After just a few minutes, it felt like old friends hanging out and catching up.  They looked a little different from the picture on their latest album.  Mostly, they were all wearing heavy beards.  I teased that they were “Duck Dynasty meets Third Day.”  After the concert, they hung around, signed autographs, and took photos with genuine enthusiasm when I know they had to be tired.  I was impressed.

I had a blast sitting down with Rhett.  He’s a local boy.  His father was a “roadie” tonight, but usually he pastors a small church in Beech Island.  I like to spend time with artists who come in because I want to get behind the facade, cut through all the fog of celebrity, and hear the human story.  And I appreciate when they let me see their heart.  Rhett was a misguided youth.  But, as his song says: “And in one moment everything changed.  Who I was got washed away when mercy found me.”  I’m glad God’s mercy found Rhett.  I hope it’s found you, too.

At the end of the night, I heard from Brandon Fox.  He and Rebekah may come down in April during Spring Break.  I hope so.  I’d love to see them, and I’m anxious to meet Selah.  We’ll be doing our Spring Break ministry at Edisto Beach that week, and I asked Brandon to consider providing music for us.  That would be a real treat.  Nothing in concrete yet, but I surely hope this develops.

Hasty Exit

After visiting with Bill and Sheila Dixon last night, I went to bed late.  But I woke up early.  Just an hour or two after retiring, I awoke to the awareness that I was … um … unwell.  I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say that was the last of my sleep for the night.

I felt awful physically, but I felt badly on two other counts.  One, Bill and Sheila had another house guest, Betsy, whose room was adjacent to the bathroom.  Unless she is one of those people who could sleep through a hurricane, I fear I made her night miserable, too.

I also felt badly that I did not get to visit Bob Henderson.  We were scheduled to have brunch, but I felt I needed to get home as quickly as I could and so left as soon as Bill emerged from his bedroom.  I was so looking forward to seeing Bob again.  He and I co-officiated Bill and Sheila’s wedding in Dec. 1999.  I had asked for the meeting, because I am searching for a “life coach” to help me navigate my end game.  By that, I mean that I want someone who was in pastoral ministry, still loves Jesus, still loves his family, is still loved by them and is still fruitful and still happy.  I’d like this coach to help me navigate those waters now so that I can say those things in the future.  I mentioned this once to Bill, who simply responded, “You just described Bob Henderson.”  Barnwell to Atlanta may be too distant to make this functional, and I don’t know how he would respond to the idea, but it is certainly worth exploring.  I wish I could have done so on this trip, but maybe we can make it happen when I return in May for Ben and Amy’s wedding.

It took me almost 6 hours to make the 3.5 hour trip home.  I was so tired I felt unsafe driving, so I stopped twice and rested.  And as I passed through Augusta, I just happened to go by a Krispy Kreme with the red light on.  The kids weren’t expecting me, so I thought it would be a fun surprise to bring them some hot and fresh pieces of heaven.  Getting out of the car and taking in a little fresh air refreshed me a bit and the rest of the trip was much easier.

It felt good to be home.  It felt wonderful to collapse into my recliner, pull a blanket over my head, and slip into a warm and hazy oblivion.  Ahhh, “The Lord gives His beloved sleep.” :-)

A Brief Atlanta Visit

Today I returned to Atlanta for a brief visit.  I had planned to do so several weeks ago to make a hospital visit, spend a few days with friends, and get a little R&R.  The previously planned trip fell apart, so I had to settle for the overnight version.

The hospital visit was at Shepherd Spinal Center, where I was privileged to meet a remarkable man.  PA State Trooper Brad Wilson was shot twice in the line of duty last August.  The bullets lodged against his spine in such a way that they can’t be removed and Trooper Wilson is now quadriplegic.  Our mutual friend, Pastor Guy Felmlee, had called to tell me the story and to express his concern.  We agreed that if I were in Atlanta anytime soon, I would visit.

Trooper Wilson has faced death every day since the shooting, not just from major and complex surgeries, but from things as mundane as mucus collecting in his throat with sufficient diaphragm strength to expel it.  But he faces it all with stoic resolve.  He was doing his job.  He has no regrets.  Does he hate the man who shot him?  No, he said matter-of-factly, hate is pointless.  Is he bitter that his life is so drastically altered 18 months shy of retirement?  No, it is what it is and he needs to focus his energies on recovery.  Is he angry with God?  No, he is still alive when he should have died.

I left feeling honored to have met him spent time with him.  If he’s still in Atlanta in May, I hope to see him again.

While in Atlanta, I spoke briefly to several friends with whom I practiced law at Fain, Major & Wiley.  Kim White and her husband Jim were good friends while we lived in Atlanta.  She is now a principle in a business that collects and disseminates information on settlements to help lawyers properly evaluate their cases.  Gary Powell left the practice to publish a magazine with his wife Tia.  Roger Orlando has a very successful plaintiff’s practice.  He was really excited, thinking that I must be calling because I had seen him as he appeared on a recent edition of Judge Judy.  Chris Penna was the senior associate at FM&W, and a great mentor to many of us “newnans.”  I learned that Chris recently married a couple of years ago, and I do hope I have the pleasure of seeing him soon and meeting his wife.

I had hoped to meet Gary and his son, Milo, for dinner, but it didn’t work out.  Instead I had an impromptu dinner with Anne and Marty Emanuel.  She was a wonderful law professor for whom we named our daughter.  I also had the joy of meeting their 7-week-old grandson, Theo.

Then it was off to spend the night with friends Bill and Sheila Dixon.  Bill was a classmate and study group partner in law school.  He has been with the SEC for 20 years now.  It’s always fun to catch up with them and to enjoy their hospitality.  They’re unlike me in so many ways, very urban, very cosmopolitan … and yet the bonds of friendship run so deep.

Wonderful, wonderful friends.  I would be blessed to know any one of them.  To know them all, to call them friends … how blessed am I?

My Week in Brief

Mar. 7 – Johnny Martin is doing much better.  I know he still has a way to go, but it sure was good to find him sitting up, and to hear that he had eaten a little solid food.  Of course, he started with grits!  Please continue to pray for Johnny and Phyllis.
Mar. 8 – Debi and I howled at the Circle Theatre, watching “Second Samuel” with Charles & Sharon Vickery.  We saw several FBC folk, and got to enjoy the acting skills of Jonathan Vickery and Jeff Miller (though Jeff played a drunk so well I had to make sure he was acting!) :-)
Mar. 9 – Brittany Taylor touched many hearts this morning, including mine, with her beautiful angelic singing. I was so moved that I asked our Praise Team to stay one Sunday soon for the 11 a.m. service so that everyone can share this blessing.
Mar. 10 – I’m getting so much out of the Purpose Driven Life group.  I especially enjoy watching Nick Toole grow in his ability to lead the discussions in a way that includes others.  And I have a renewed sense of appreciation for the material, too.
Mar. 11 – What a delightful time with Young at Heart in Edisto today.  We did things that were right up my alley because they had a historical bent.  And a day out of the office didn’t hurt me, either.
Mar. 12 – Today is our daughter Annie’s 24th birthday.  I sure wish she were here so I could give her a birthday hug.  I suppose an early a.m. text will just have to do for now.  But she will come down for Ben’s wedding in May, so I’ll just save that hug!
Mar. 12 – I met with my small group of other pastors this morning.  We encourage one another and hold one another’s feet to the fire in ministry.  I’m honored to be a colleague of these good men.
Mar. 12 – Community Lenten Services have been wonderful.  I love the spirit of God’s people, especially here in Barnwell.  I hope you know the joy of worshipping with the Church, not just the church.  And many thanks to our Hospitality Team, who did such an excellent job preparing and serving our delicious lunch.  Y’all are the best!
Mar. 13 – I met this morning with my two young mentees.  I think they’re coming out of their shells a little bit, and I’m happy for that development.  As you look at your spiritual gifting, perhaps God is calling you to consider Project H.O.P.E., too.  If so, just see Trina Burt.
Mar. 13 – Debi and I enjoyed lunch today with Jeanna Kinard.  I’m very proud of her.  It was good to be joined by Carlton and Debra Lemmond, who spoke of their conviction of the importance of reading Scripture to our children.  I agree!
Mar. 13 – I met today with Lisa Solomons.  We’ve scheduled Scout Sunday for May 18, at which time Scouts who have completed the PRAY curriculum will receive their merit badges.
Mar. 13 – I enjoyed my visit with Marion and JoAnn Croft today.  Marion has just received some difficult health news and they are formulating their plan of attack.  I pray that God will give them wisdom in the planning and strength for the battle.
Mar. 14 – I was unable to make my trip to ATL a few weeks back to visit with the wounded PA State Trooper.  I plan to go today for a truncated visit with him and also a few friends, then return tomorrow.
Mar. 14 – Bring-A-Kid to the Bojangles Southern 500 in Darlington.  Questions?  Contact Welsh Neck Baptist Association at 843-332-7771 or welshneckassn@aol.com.

The Great Commission

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. 28:16-20

I have been emphasizing lately the importance of discipleship.  I make a distinction between believers and disciples.  Believers are those who believe, but disciples are those who actually follow.  It is one thing to believe that Jesus died and is raised from the dead, but it is another thing to commit to following His teaching and His manner of life.  All disciples are believers, but I am troubled that not all believers are disciples.

Jesus’ “Great Commission” contains only one imperative – “make disciples.”  It sounds to us like the first verb is to “go” and then to “make disciples,” but that is not really correct.  The passage actually presumes the going.  We might get this point better if we translated it “As you go, make disciples.”  It’s a very straightforward assignment, and if we’re not making disciples as we go through life, we’re failing our mission.

So how do we make disciples?  I think the answer is also contained in the Great Commission.  It is a two-stage process.  First we baptize believers.  Baptism is a rite of passage, an initiation into the Christian community, a declaration to the whole world that we belong to Jesus and are committed to following Him.  That initial act of obedience takes just a moment.  Then comes the hard part – teaching a convert to be a disciple.  Or, in Jesus’ words, teaching them to obey everything He has commanded.  In other words, someone who believes in Jesus should be mentored or coached by a more seasoned and mature Christian to actually learn the art of living as a follower of Christ.

I think many Christians are spiritual obstetricians.  They want to birth a baby Christian, then move on and birth another.  The great need of our day is spiritual pediatricians, those who will take care of that baby Christian until they are mature.

Notice something else about the Great Commission.  Jesus does not say to merely teach people about Him, but rather to teach them to obey Him.  Big difference!  I think the last thing some Christians need is another Bible study.  They have already filled up their heads with more knowledge than they are using.  What they really need is a life study.  Rather than an instructor who will give them more info, they need a mentor, a coach, someone who will help them apply what they already know.