It was very apparent that people wanted to be given tools to deal with the various parts of their life as a Christian. Some of the equipping areas included parenting, marriage, blended families, Bible study, mission and discipleship. The fact is, we all need to be equipped for the task of everyday ministry.
In Ephesians 4:11-13 Paul said this…
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.
Paul is saying that we need to be equipped for “works of service”. In other words, so that we may minister to those in the church and in the world. I am reminded that while every believer of every age needs this, it is especially important for a particular segment of the church. I want to share with you part of an article written by Pastor Matt Carter of Austin Stone Church in Austin,Texas. Austin Stone is a church similar to ours with a younger average age and situated in a college town.
Eighteen to thirty year olds are not okay with sitting on the sidelines of ministry. I have a church full of them that tell me this. They’re hard wired to want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They’re not afraid of challenge.
The reason eighteen to thirty years old are leaving the church in record numbers is because most churches don’t get this. For far too long our model has been for people to come to us where we will feed them spiritually, provide programs for them and make them comfortable. The church would place the responsibility of mission on paid clergy and foreign missionaries.
But there is a growing tension with this generation. They’re sitting in the pews, reading the Bible, wondering out loud why the picture of Christianity they’re reading about in the book of Acts is so radically different than the Christianity they’re living. They’re wondering when they get to see the Holy Spirit manifest Himself through them. What gift did the Holy Spirit give them with their salvation. They want God to use them too, not just their pastors.
I know we have seen the same angst play out here in our church. So, we are wresting with questions like, “How can we turn our congregation into a movement of equipped people who are on mission everyday of their lives, not just on Sunday?” “What are the vehicles we can use to give people the tools necessary to live as fully devoted followers of Jesus?” Our first steps include the “Equip” sessions that will happen throughout the year, our small groups, our volunteer training, and groups that are meeting for the purpose of discipleship and leadership. In fact, look for more information coming soon about the next “Equip” sessions on April 24, May 1 and 8.
My vision is the same as Paul’s, that we would all be equipped “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.”
Celebration Dinner 2014: