There are many ways that ministry leaders can invest their time. What’s most important?
God gave leaders to the church (Eph 4:11) for one primary reason: To equip.
Ephesians 4:12 tells us that leaders are to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” The rest of the passage indicates that the church’s overall maturity and health depends on leaders doing this crucial job.
What is Equipping?
Simply, equipping is finding the holes and filling them. The word used in Ephesians 4:12 for equip comes from the same root word used in Matthew 4:21 describing the disciples mending their nets. The disciples were looking for holes in the net and equipping the nets to be stronger.
In What Areas Should Ministry Leaders Equip People?
Equipping takes a variety of forms. But there are some key areas where people need equipping:
- Knowledge of God. A.W. Tozer said, “We tend by secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.” Tim Chester makes a compelling case that much of our sinful behavior and negative emotions comes from believing lies about God. People need to be equipped with truth about who God is.
- Sufficiency of the Gospel. The gospel is so counter-intuitive to our normal way of operating that it needs to be continually rediscovered. Many Christians view it as something to quickly move on from, thus forfeiting much of the joys that are theirs in Christ. They revert to performance, legalism, and self-effort — robbing them of joy and blessing.
- Practical Living. So few people were raised by strong Christians who knew how to integrate their faith into all of life that ministry leaders must provide modeling and instruction. This means people will need help learning how to make a budget, discipline children, create meaningful family traditions, prioritize Jesus, talk to their pre-teens about sex, handle the challenges of work travel, and a host of other things. A practical example of this kind of equipping is John Bryson’s post on “The Briefcase: Leading Well in the Midst of Your Untimely Death.”
- Decision Making. Because of the above deficiencies, many people make very foolish decisions. Ministry leaders help people think through their decisions and equip them with lessons that will serve them in the future.
How to Equip People
I’ve found the best way to equip people is to be relationally connected and to share as many experiences as possible. A simple mantra has been:
“Whenever possible, don’t do it alone.”
Sharing experiences and taking people with me has been far more effective than merely theoretical discussion. As long as leaders are relationally connected to people, there will be infinite opportunities to equip.
In what areas do you find that people need the most equipping?
(HT: Image Credit)