Teach, train & equip your members.
“Equipping the saints (members) to fulfill their calling and Godly gifts and talents.”
- Trust+release (delegate)
- Ephesians 4:11+12
- Mt. 28:19 (“…and teach them…”)
- 2Tim. 2:2
The empowerment of our members is clearly stated as part of our vision: “We see a church accessible to all people, celebrating our unity and God given diversity, empowering our members for caring and transforming our communities to the glory of God.” One of the main reasons why believers are called upon to come to a church service, is for the purpose of empowerment.
Empowerment is inherently part of the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Mt. 28:19) The making of disciples implies empowerment. In a time when basic knowledge about Kingdom principles and being followers of Christ has become very limited and shallow, the AFM needs to emphasise the importance of empowerment.
A key-Scripture in this regard is Ephesians 4:11+12: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Also 1 Cor. 12: 27+28) We acknowledge these equipping-ministries. Their main task is to equip/empower the saints for their work in ministry.
It is important to create an environment and culture where “ordinary” members assume their responsibilities as “full-time” members of the body of Christ. Each member must realise that they are equally called by God and has a particular gift(s) to fulfill their ministry. It is these members who live and work in our modern-day market-places. They must be empowered and mandated to be witnesses of Christ near and far. The missional purpose and dimension of our empowerment is unmistakable.
In empowering our members we will do best by following Jesus’s way of empowering His disciples. He first spent time in teaching them. This was followed by showing them the “how to”. He then proceeded by making them part of the ministry – eg. the multiplication of the fish and bread. The next step was to send them out to minister by themselves. (Luke 9:1+2) When they failed or made mistakes, He corrected them – eg. the son with the evil spirits. (Mark 9:14-29) This is where the important responsibility of mentorship and coaching comes in. When their training was completed, He made sure that they were filled with the Holy Spirit before they were send into the world. (Luke 21:49, Acts 1:8) Then they must repeat this process with new converts. (Mt. 28:19 and 2Tim. 2:2)
Empowerment takes place in different ways and on different levels. It must always be remembered that the main purpose of our empowerment is to develop true disciples, apostolic agents who are able to fulfill the Missio Dei – the Mission of God. We must steer away from the age-old tradition of seeing members as mere laity and pastors being the “called ones”. Every member must know that they are just as much called by God and that they are called to be witnesses of Christ through their lives and work. They are equally and “full-time” part of the body of Christ.