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Celebrate the Equipping Church

Every church has an awesome privilege of supporting, encouraging, training, and equipping each person to fulfill their God-given purpose.

Party Time?

Everyone loves a good party. We all love to celebrate our accomplishments and enjoy our successes—not to mention relishing the flattery of our peers. Relish …That reminds me, we’re going to need almost a dozen grills and we’ll probably have dessert catered by that ice cream shop down the street. Let’s see, we’ll need the hospitality team and the kitchen crew. I need to form a leadership team to delegate the responsibilities to the team captains of lay leadership …

Image: Yoori Koo

I’ve often been there. Have you? The times where even celebrations—times of worship, relaxation, and enjoying one another—seem like too much work to be worth it. Here’s the tension: It’s too much work without volunteers, and equipping volunteers is too much work. The process of equipping others to serve and lead in the local church is challenging, but it should also be rewarding for everyone involved.

I serve in volunteer leadership as the Director of Equipping at my local church, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty, Missouri. Over the past several years, God has moved within our people to create a culture of service that we would not have dreamed possible.

We celebrate the fact that each person has a special God-given purpose in life, and we as a church body have the awesome privilege of supporting, encouraging, training, and equipping each person to fulfill that purpose. This celebration results from much more than just a nominal belief that each person is special.

We passionately believe that:

  • Equipping and developing people is biblical.
  • Each person is made in a special way.
  • Each person deserves special attention.
  • We must commit to each volunteer that they will have training, be affirmed, receive feedback, know expectations, have an opportunity to help evaluate ministries, and experience the joy of recognition and reflection.
  • Hundreds of volunteers would love to be asked to serve.

With each belief comes a challenge that causes us to ask the question, “Are we just mentally on board with the principles of biblical equipping, or does our belief cross the line of conviction that results in action?” My passion is so strong that I left my position in the secular marketplace to give my life to equipping the people in the local church. I have never been so fulfilled, rewarded, or challenged—all coupled with the sense that I am doing exactly what I was made to do. I believe you can help your volunteers tap into that same belief and passion.

The intrinsic motivation for inviting people into ministry must be pure. It would help to be clairvoyant! But fortunately, God blesses leaders in the local church with the spiritual gift of discernment, guiding us when inviting someone to a specific ministry. You can be certain that you will be successful in matching each individual with his/her specific design if you truly have the other person’s best interest at heart and desire that the Kingdom of God is glorified. I find myself experiencing great remorse when my attitude falls to what I can get from an individual rather than what I want for the individual. One of our favorite statements is, “We are not about inviting people to fill roles, but roles to fulfill people!”

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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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