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:
- the pathway of personally relating with Jesus.
- the pathway of together walking with Jesus.
- 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.