Monday, December 08, 2008

Church: Equipping God's People

I recently attended a service where the Teaching Pastor compared what happens in many churches to a child's play at school, where everyone had rehearsed their part and then presented it for those in attendance to see how well they had performed, or memorized their lines. This made me laugh until I realized what a powerful truth she had revealed.
When we say that the leadership that is called by God is given the assignment to Equip the People of God (the church) What are we saying? What might it look like and what might the values of an Equipping Church be? How might it function?

To start we should review the passage in Ephesians 4: 11-16.
The passage below is from the ESV.
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds [2] and teachers, [3] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, [4] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Previously I have stated in other articles that the Church or people of God must continue all that Jesus began to do and teach through the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the will of the Father. The verses above give us insight and direction for the accomplishment of doing all that Jesus began to do and teach as He fulfilled both the Law and the Prophets.
1. The first observation from these verses is that this is about God's people not programs. Equipping God's people is not about pulling a program out of a box or copying what some other church or ministry is doing, but leadership serving as a catalyst, teacher, encourager and resource so that God's people will fulfill His plan through them.
Below I have provided definitions of these key words so that we might know with greater depth what we are saying. In my next article we will look deeper into being a Church that continues to do what Jesus began to do and teach by obeying the truths stated above in this passage.
According to Websters dictionary:
cat·a·lyst Pronunciation: \ˈka-tə-ləst\ Function: noun Date: 1902
1 : a substance that enables a chemical reaction to proceed at a usually faster rate or under different conditions (as at a lower temperature) than otherwise possible

2 : an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action

To Teach:
Pronunciation: \ˈtēch\ Function: verb inflected Form(s):
taught \ˈtȯt\ ; teach·ing
Middle English techen to show, instruct, from Old English tǣcan; akin to Old English tācn sign — more at token
Date: before 12th century transitive verb

1 a: to cause to know something

b: to cause to know how

c: to accustom to some action or attitude

d: to cause to know the disagreeable consequences of some action

2: to guide the studies of

3: to impart the knowledge of

4 a: to instruct by precept, example, or experience

b: to make known and accepted

5: to conduct instruction regularly in intransitive verb: to provide instruction : act as a teacher

To En·cour·age
\in-ˈkər-ij, -ˈkə-rij, en-\
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): en·cour·aged; en·cour·ag·ing
Middle English encoragen, from Anglo-French encorager, from en- + curage courage
15th century
1 a: to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope :
hearten b: to attempt to persuade : urge

2: to spur on : stimulate

3: to give help or patronage to : foster — en·cour·ag·er noun

\ˈrē-ˌsȯrs, -ˌzȯrs, ri-ˈ\
Function: noun
French ressource, from Old French ressourse relief, resource, from resourdre to relieve, literally, to rise again, from Latin resurgere — more at
Date: circa 1611
1 a: a source of supply or support : an available means —usually used in plural b: a natural source of wealth or revenue —often used in plural c: a natural feature or phenomenon that enhances the quality of human life d: computable wealth —usually used in plural e: a source of information or expertise

2: something to which one has recourse in difficulty : expedient

3: a possibility of relief or recovery

4: a means of spending one's leisure time5: an ability to meet and handle a situation : resourcefulness

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