In the majority of established churches in the U. S., the paid staff does most of the daily ministry. All one has to do is read passages like Ephesians 4:11-12 and I Peter 2:9 to see that God never intended for churches to function that way.
What Christianity needs today is a fresh view of the church where;
- Every person is a minister of the gospel;
- Everyone is to care for one another;
- No one is indispensable;
- Paid staff exist primarily to help people grow into what God intended them to be;
- Paid staff offer on-the-job training and mentoring;
- Every leader has an intern learning the trade of how to be a disciple of Jesus;
- All leaders and many of the congregation live and breathe for every person to actively serve in God’s mission by equipping others to serve.
This view of the church is at the heart of a “culture of equipping” as well as a multiplying church and should be the goal of every church.
But for such a culture to be developed and nurtured, paid staff and church leaders must have a different understanding of ministry and the roles played by paid staff and congregation. In short, paid staff has to cease being doers of ministry, instead becoming equippers of ministry, and the congregation has to quit relying on paid staff for everything and become the doers of ministry.
There are two huge barriers to developing a culture of equipping. Pastors have to be willing to give up doing ministry, and lay people need to take responsibility for the ministry. Both of these changes go against our grain. Many pastors like to be needed and many lay people think of their pastors as spiritual “hitmen.” Neither of these attitudes is healthy.
Making the transition from a dependent environment to a growth culture where paid staff equips the congregation for ministry is one of the hardest challenges for paid staff. So what do I tell church leaders they must do to make this change? That is the subject of my next post.
Question: What elements do you think are the most essential to creating an equipping culture in a church? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.