an important question for pastors – are you actually equipping the church to be who Jesus intended? Read more here…

There is a question I have been asking for some time now, both of myself and of our leadership team with @WestpointChurch. It is a simple yet significant question with profound implications on the energy expenditures of our leadership efforts. Here it is:

am i actually equipping our local church expression to be who Jesus intended together? 

In order to answer this question, I probably need to ask two others. What did Jesus intend and in what ways might I equip them for that?

May I suggest that Jesus intended that we believe that we are loved by the God who sent His one and only Son. May I suggest that Jesus intended that we respond to His loving us first by denying self and loving Him daily with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. May I suggest that Jesus intended that we love our neighbor, taking initiative to love them, just as He loves us. May I suggest that Jesus intended that we live open-handed and free, freely giving to the oppressed and poor and lonely and indulgent as we relate with them where they are, not out of guilt but from a free, loved, forgiven, grace-compelled heart. And may I suggest that Jesus intended that we learn and live His ways and then as we are going learn and live His ways out in the midst of culture among those who feel lost and lonely that they might believe that they are loved by the God who came near, too.

Am I equipping for this, or something else? 

Being a pastor, or an equipper as the New Testament seems to most often describe it, is not a role that is superior to anyone else involved in the life of a local church. It is not a management role. It is not an executive position. It is not a place of declared authority.

Rather, being an equipper is simply the serving part that someone lives as a fellow follower of Jesus in order to resource and encourage every follower of Jesus as they live sent with Jesus into the daily rhythms of life. Rather than managing, equippers release. Rather than leading from a board room, equippers relate. And rather than declaring the authority of self, equippers resource the daily ministry of others.

And we certainly were not intended to just get folks in the door of “a church.” Rather, we were intended to equip folks to be sent out as the church.

So how might we equip for that. Here are three pathways of equipping I would suggest are crucial if we will equip the church to be the church as Jesus intended:

  1. the pathway of personally relating with Jesus.
  2. the pathway of together walking with Jesus.
  3. the pathway of together going near with Jesus.

If we equip along these pathways, cultivate in these ways, I would suggest that we would be equipping the church to be who Jesus intends.

This week, I will unpack those three pathways one at a time and would really value any input and wisdom you would be wiling to share in the comments.

Grateful to be an equipper. Praying for wisdom on how to be one.
-jason

6 thoughts on “an important question for pastors – are you actually equipping the church to be who Jesus intended? Read more here…

  1. Pingback: A note to pastors, cont. – actually equipping along the pathway of personally relating with Jesus… | as i live sent daily

  2. Pingback: a note to pastors, cont. – are you actually equipping along the pathway of together walking with Jesus? | as i live sent daily

  3. Love,love,love this! You are right on! This is so refreshing & while this is straight from the Eord of God, I seldom hear this message? Years & years I have heard pastor’s talk about their “call” as superior, “called to the ministry” as if only they are the called, and the view of the laity as less than & sometimes even treated like the laity WORK for the pastor. Jason, this is something James & I have cried out for several years, but many in the pastor role look upon us as inferior because James doesn’t hold a “staff” positoin

  4. Cheri LaForest Tew
    ‎(sent before I was ready) position. As if having a title on staff magically makes you understand scripture better.

    Anyhow. What we believe is the following & I think II hear you saying the same thing. We are all called to minister (live sent). The call to pastor is not a superior call, but it’s a specific role needed in the body. It’s a call based on giftedness. Those in this role should be equippers. Equipping others to Live Sent. As the Father sent Jesus, He sends all of us, not just pastors & our ministry is just as important as those with the pastor role. We also believe that “ministry” goes way beyond what we do inside the building we gather at each week. The “church” is the body, the building is the “hub” where we gather.

    Do you find that some view “ministry” only as occupations where they draw a salary from a “church” or what we call a para church organization? As if that is what ” call to ministry” means? Where do they get this idea in scripture? James & I have really searched this & can’t find support for this view.

    What we have come to believe is that we are all called to ministry. We all have different roles according to giftedness & those who feel God is leading them to pastor do so according to their giftedness & their role is to equip. We see many pastor’s that do not appear to have the equipping gifts, which we have come to believe one of their gifts needs to be teaching. Not saying God can’t use encouragers, prophets, administrators, those with the gift of mercy, etc; however, if you are going to be able to equip others, having the gift to teach others is helpful & in the Bible pastor/teacher is used Interchangeably.

    I think we have totally confused people for generations & we have so seperated what we call the sacred & the secular that people think that “going into the ministry” is some seperate and superior call & is only valid & sacred if we have a staff position at a “church” or para church organization. Do you understand what I am saying? Am I way off, in your opinion?

    I hear college students say: “I’m gifted In this or that area & I may get a degree in that area, but I’m also feeling like God is calling me to ministry so I am not sure if I need to go to seminary & become a pastor. Why can’t the student see that God has gifted him, giving Him a passion & abilities & he doesn’t have to be a pastor to “be in the ministry”? I think it is because of years & years of hearing this “call to ministry” as being taught as only for the pastor’s & those who work for a para church organization.

    I don’t know about you , but I hope my doctor, lawyer, accountant, mechanic are Christians who feel called to ministry & they do their work as unto the Lord. Maybe I see things differently because I sensed God’s “call” to seminary & both churches James served, but the same God spoke clearly to us to farm & we are still ministering outside the church building and inside the church building according to our giftedness & I still feel I am in the center of God’s will & very much called to ministry. I still feel God’s nearness & pleasure everyday. I still feel SENT.

    I also believe that God’s will is not some hidden mystery that we must wring our hands over, afraid that there is only one choice & if we miss iit, God is not going to be pleased.

    As a parent, I give my children choices. I believe there is even freedom in our “occupational” choices. I think our focus needs to be more on giftedness than some mysterious call that no one dares to challenge.

    Who will argue with someone who says God called me, God told me & how many times have I heard people talk about a pastor that stopped pastoring as someone who “got out of the ministry”.

    I think we have shifted from giftedness to a paid professional mentality as far as many pastors see themselves and even how the others in the body view them.

    O.K., I’ve rambled long enough.

    Feedback welcomed.

    Blessings, Cheri

  5. Pingback: a note to pastors, cont. – are you actually equipping for the church to be going near together with Jesus? Thoughts here… | as i live sent daily

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