Equipping The Saints

Equipping The Saints

The post is part of the Lead Measures series

In last week’s post, Robby Gallaty talked about the difference between lag measures and lead measures.  A lag measure is the metric that results from something put into place days, months or years ago.  For example, when a church falls below budget, it is a result of something that happened in the past.  When attendance is declining, it is the result of something that took place weeks or months ago. On the other hand, a lead measure is something we can engage in today that will affect change into the future.

The Call To Equip

With that in mind, I want to submit to you that one of the greatest lead measures a leader can engage in is to equip and empower their members to do ministry.  Consider what the Apostle Paul says in Ephesians: 11 And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. (Ephesians 4:11-13, CSB) According to this passage, the responsibility of leadership with in the church is to equip and empower the members of their congregation “for the work of ministry.”  This will build up the body of Christ.  Further, the church will come together in unity and grow in the knowledge of God and maturity.

What If We Don’t Equip?

Tony Morgan, in his book, The Unstuck Church says, “As you are probably aware, there are thousands of churches across the country that will never grow beyond a hundred people because the senior pastor is doing all the ministry.” We must be diligent to give the ministry away by equipping the saints to serve and carry out the ministry of the church.  When we equip and empower them they will move away from being consumers and “pew-warmers” to becoming involved, invested, gospel co-workers.

Do What Only You Can Do

Another benefit to equipping and empowering members to do ministry is that we will free ourselves up to do what only we can do.  There are a few key responsibilities as a leader that you must do in the local church. This doesn’t mean that when we train up and invest in our members that this labor is not important.  In fact, it’s one of the most important things you can do!   But it means that there are many things in the local church that our members are more than capable of doing with excellence if we will get out of their way and let them do it.  When this happens, the body of Christ is edified and Jesus is glorified. A perfect example of leaders turning over some responsibilities to focus on doing what only they could do is found in Acts 6:1-4: In those days, as the disciples were increasing in number, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. The Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, “It would not be right for us to give up preaching the word of God to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”  (Acts 6:1-4, CSB) The apostles recognized that there was important, God honoring work that they could do in the local church, but it would take away from doing what only they could do in the church, the preaching and teaching of the Word of God.  Instead of dealing with this directly themselves, they turned the ministry over to “seven men of good reputation” and equipped them to execute the work of ministry.  The result was pleasing to everyone (Acts 6:5) and the Word of God spread and the number of disciples in Jerusalem greatly increased, (Acts 6:7). When we do the hard work of enlisting, equipping and empowering others to do ministry, we develop future leaders who come alongside us to not only embrace the vision but help us execute the vision. [bctt tweet=”When we do the hard work of enlisting, equipping and empowering others to do ministry, we develop future leaders who come alongside us to not only embrace the vision but help us execute the vision.” username=”tim_lafleur”]

What Would The Church Look Like?

Ed Stetzer, while researching for his book, Transformational Church discovered a startling reality. He discovered that the majority of members in the majority of evangelical churches are not engaged in meaningful ministry or missions. We must ask ourselves the lead measure question: “What would our churches look like today if we would have equipped and empowered our members to do ministry yesterday?”  I think you would agree that the church would look very different. What would your church look like if you did the hard work of investing in emerging leaders?  What would it look like if you enlisted, equipped and empowered members to be gospel co-workers?

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

I have the privilege of serving as the equipping pastor and leading the Member Care team at our church. Our average attendance last year was over 6,000 each week.  AS you can imagine, this group of people represents many different needs and multiple challenges. Our staff alone cannot even begin to meet all of the needs and challenges in a church this size. Because the staff alone isn’t enough manpower or hours in the day, we have a robust ministry to equip the members of our church to do a variety of ministries that span from leading someone to faith in Christ to peer counseling. Members do hospital visitation, decision time counseling, pre-marital counseling, widows ministry and serve in a host of other ministries. These volunteers are really ministry partners locking arms with us to help us meet the needs of our congregation to the glory of God. I want to challenge you to make your next lead measure you implement in your church to be equipping and empowering your members to do the work of ministry.