As long as the church has existed there have been movements. Movements come and go, are influenced by culture and history, and leave an impact for better or worse. Regardless of which movement or stream of the faith you come from, the call to be an equipping church has not changed.
An equipping church is one that fully embraces the call to engage its people, invest in their growth, and empower them to lead. The Bible clearly defines the equipping church in Ephesians 4:12–13:
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
This is one of the most central calls for the church, but somehow many of us have lost our way. In the early church, the leaders were responsible for equipping God’s people and empowering them to serve the world. This was their main focus. And it worked wonderfully! Sound tricky? It’s not. It can be done regardless of your size or stage of growth. There are six reasons why you should care about becoming an equipping church.
1. It’s the basic discipleship framework.
This isn’t rocket science. Engaging people, investing in them in a personal way, and then giving them the chance to replicate the process are the core components of discipleship. You can see this in Jesus’ ministry. He engages the disciples, shares his thoughts and life with them, and then sends them out to do ministry (Matt 10:1–14).
2. It’s about people, not programs.
Every church has programs, and if we are not careful, the details of facilitating and growing our programs can crowd out our real objective: people’s individual development.The focus of the equipping church is on people. This focus may require some hard decisions. Are you evaluating the outcomes from your programs? If people are not being equipped as a result, it may be time to scrap that program.
3. We all want to be part of a movement.
Equipping people and empowering them to lead moves them from the sidelines onto the field. Engaging people in the work of the ministry helps them be a part of the mission. The journey of faith is about personally being transformed into the likeness of Christ and participating in the transformation of others. Everyone has a role to play in this, and there is no greater movement to be a part of!
4. It is scalable.
Churches are like people. They come in all shapes, sizes, and types. No matter what type of church you are today, or what type of church you will be in five years, the equipping framework fits. You can start small and invest in a few key leaders. Then ask them to invest in others. As you grow, your equipping framework grows with you.
5. It doesn’t depend on you.
Ministry models that rely on staff can only have as much impact as the staff members have time. Staff-driven approaches can lead to burnout and stalled ministry, and limit the development of your other leaders. By entrusting the work of the ministry to a broader group of leaders, you help them mature and your growth potential skyrockets.
6. It results in transformation.
The Equipping Church is full of stories of transformation. None of us get up on a Sunday and head to church aspiring to be exactly like we were the day before. We want to be more like Christ every day. By equipping people, those stories of transformation and growth will rise to the surface. The most effective way to attract people to your church is to be known as the place where people are transformed.
If you’re ready to develop a discipleship model that equips God’s people for ministry, download our latest resource, ‘Ephesians 4 In Practice’, today. In it, you’ll find everything you need to know in order to create a framework for intentional discipleship in your church.
For more on how to become an Equipping Church read this.