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Celebrate the Equipping Church

When you have made an honest assessment of how your leaders think/work—which I might add can be painful—you are in position to meet them where they are. You must be ready to articulate your passion and the reason you believe equipping God’s passion and creating buy-in and culture change is active championing from the senior and (if applicable) executive pastors. This is more than just agreeing with the mission and passively acknowledging the purpose. The senior leadership must engage in meaningful equipping of those they expect to go and equip others.

Adapting the principles that Paul gives in Ephesians 4 and having these principles modeled by my senior leadership is a mandatory foundation for building a culture of God-honoring service to others. If this process takes longer than you expect, encourage your people, but let it take no more or no less time than it needs. This process also taught me that there was no substitute for a compassionate attitude toward the progress of each staff member or key leader. After assessing our leaders’ their previous thinking …I was then able to take the next step.

Matching

Question to Self #2: Who goes where and why? And when they get there, what do they do?

Once the fuse is lit and God begins to work, you will see the leadership equipping other equippers and positive synergies emerging. Your people will get excited. The needs of a church and the gifts of the people are spiritual waters that require prayerful and precise navigation. This is exactly the reason for our discovery class, Finding Your Niche. Each person who completes the four-week class is honored with a personal interview by a trained consultant who then refers them to a ministry connector to ensure a meaningful ministry engagement.

Ironically enough, this is where God’s model of equipping gets really exciting. These are the times you will look back on with goose bumps as you share with others the awesome work of God’s hand. You will see sparks in people that you thought were quite possibly made of asbestos. These sparks will catch fire with dozens of others or remain a small blue flame of service and encouragement for others. After years of equipping, studying, and working in this area I am still joyfully amazed at the work God can do in the lives of anyone who will let him. Everyone is a piece in God’s jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes we have to smooth a few edges, but every person does have a place.

Commitment

Question to Self #3: Is my organization ready to follow through, in the short- and long-term, with a culture of equipping?

The plan is in place. The people are serving. Under the pressures and weekly demands of ministry, it is easy to enlist and forget rather than follow through on equipping. Here is where the work of equipping can get tricky (or trickier). Today’s successful program is tomorrow’s plan for mediocrity. Encouragement wears off. Wisdom can be forgotten. Needs and people change.

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Category: Ministry, Spring 2016

About the Author: Charlene Armitage is a retired educator in the North Kansas City School District. During the time of her service in the NKC School District, she was involved in leadership development in Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty, Missouri where her husband was Senior Pastor for forty-one years. She and her husband continue to serve on staff at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois.

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