There are few things more exciting than watching a team rally together and take on “enemy forces.” These “enemy forces” may be another school’s football team, show choir, or marching band. It’s fun to watch the training, focus, discipline and execution that brings individuals together into a team. I remember playing “kick the can” against the other neighborhood’s kids and “capture the flag” with a friendly church group. At Grace we work together not only to do ministry but to fight as a family against spiritual forces. There are spiritual forces and distractions like busyness, becoming like the culture, or even gossip, division, the scourge of the tongue or worse.
Equipping Togetheris the second aspect of Grace’s Vision Statement. Here are the three statements:
- Connecting together to worship God
· Equipping together in grace to be more like Christ
· Multiplying together with the gospel to reach the world
Last month we looked at the first statement on Connecting Together. This month let’s highlight Equipping Together!
Equipping is a biblical word and concept. Note these two great passages Paul writes:
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equippingof the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God…1
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.2
Equipping is the nurture, love, training and exhortation you get at church and in fellowship with other believers to give glory to the Lord in and through His body. It means you can’t “sit, soak or sour” as a Christian. You can measure how you’re doing by how you’re expanding your ability to reach and disciple other people.
Together means you are not alone. It means you work with others in the body to become more like Christ. It means you don’t just stay home and study, when your privilege is to help others grow to be more like Christ, (even if you have better ideas and you think you can be more efficient!) Together means you consider others more important than yourself.3
To be more like Christmeans God’s purposes are for us to become conformed to the image of Jesus.4 When God’s people are conformed to the image of Jesus, then there will be an assembly of prayer and praise at churches across the land, rather than division and discouragement. There will be outreach of gospel truth and compassion to communities. Why? There will be growth because church will be a place of unity, empowerment and growth with all believers equipping together.
I see this going on at Grace. Steve Perron and Mike Monfreda put together a great Elder Training series this summer for equipping potential future elders. I see this in Youth Ministry as Justin works with AJ Hillebrand, Josh Georgen and others for equipping in youth ministry. I see this in the quarterly Children’s Ministry Training; Pat Hillebrand and Vickie Hovenstine equipping teachers and helpers for the children’s ministry. I see Rich Witmer equipping musicians and singers for leading us in praise. I see this in the Fellowship Groups and Home Groups as people both learn truth and learn how to apply the truth in good relationships.
We saw a great manifestation of equipping as the Connection Team equipped many of the ministries to rally together for the Ministry Fair. I get to see the behind-the-scenes work of the Communication Team working on branding and brochure work as well as connecting to ministries to facilitate better communication at Grace. I saw the Men’s Ministry equip families at the movie “Courageous” after which many men and women stood up to take on the challenge of standing tall for Jesus. I see the Outreach Team equip many people for outreach ministry.
The opportunities and follow through for equipping together to be more like Christ are present, ready and growing at Grace. Let’s keep working together as a team so that no “enemy forces,” whether human or angelic, can thwart or hinder God’s open door for ministry at Grace! How do you see our team coming together to equip together?
1Ephesians 4:12-13a; 22 Timothy 3:16-17; 3Philippians 2:3-4; 4Romans 8:29