Unpacking insights and principles uncovered by Leadership Training Network, Mallory helps you customize an equipping system and culture in your church. With the accompanying The Equipping Church Guidebook, this book will be a mile marker in your church — and the gateway to a more effective and biblical approach to ministry.
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She is supporting author of several other Leadership Network publications. Clearly designed to portray what a successful equipping church embodies, from vision-casting to implementation.
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John Mark Ministries. Search Search for: Go. Like this: Like Loading Discussion Comments are disallowed for this post. How would you like us to pray for you and your ministry in the workplace? Then we would pray for them.
Equipping Church Guidebook, The
Strategies for helping churches become better equippers need to be worked on thoughtfully over the long term. Another approach to implementing this sort of process has been adopted by churches involved in the Imagine Church Project that Neil Hudson is heading up for the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity. The process they follow is circular and continuing as churches are encouraged to revisit and reinforce changes that have been made previously.
The six steps they picture moving clockwise around the circle include:. Dugan, Stuart D. Portland OR, Nov These churches are changing their approaches to worship. The connections between work and worship are explored in the songs they sing, the prayers they pray, the testimonies they share, and the themes that are sounded in the preaching. These churches have realised that worship is not just what happens in church. There are many ways in which stronger links between faith and work can be forged in our corporate worship events.
Some examples include:. Steve Graham, pastor of a Pentecostal church in Christchurch, New Zealand, is preaching a series of sermons on Joseph. He is stunned by the warm response from people and the feedback they provide. He gets some of them to tell their stories in church. He starts getting questions about other ethical dilemmas. So he decides to do another series based on the 10 commandments, also with a workplace emphasis. The lively feedback and stories continue. Bible Readings: Most people are not used to listening for work-related themes in Bible readings.
It often helps if such readings are introduced in a way that more explicitly invites congregation members to think about any connections with life and work concerns. The commentaries covering every book of the Bible at www. The kids put on the uniforms and guess who they belong to. The noisiest moment is when the pastor starts up a chainsaw. The kids have a lot of laughs and end up praying for people in their work. Hymns and contemporary songs: There are many traditional hymns that talk about aspects of faith related to daily life and work, but contemporary songs that do this are harder to find.
As people file into Opawa Baptist Church they write down three different kinds of paid and unpaid work they are likely to do this week. During the offering, their writings are pegged on string lines in the auditorium. Later, during a prayer time, a couple of people walk along the lines reading off some of the different kinds of work listed there and everyone is invited to offer their work to God.
Intercessions: Regular prayers of intercession can include specific or more general expressions of concern for people in their places of work and the issues they are working through there. This concludes with a corporate responsive prayer. These images offer another invitation to connect worship and work. This can be in the form of work tools or work-related sculptures or pictures of people at work.
Small Boat Big Sea is a Christian group in Sydney that has adopted a pattern for its community life that includes talk about work as part of their regular sending function. A Christian lawyer is invited to talk about his job, what he enjoys, what he struggles with, and how his faith influences his approach to work.
People also ask him some other questions. He is then asked what he would appreciate prayer for and the community gather around to pray for him. A different person is invited to talk about their daily work each week. Sometimes this takes the form of a formal commissioning ceremony, but often it means just simply acknowledging and praying for different occupational groups on successive Sundays.
It is important, however, not to give the impression that such ceremonies are second-rate versions of clergy or church worker commissionings. For example, if people are commissioned for short-term missions, but not for their daily work, it sends a message that church missions are more important than regular work. Or if doctors and nurses are commissioned for their work, but retail workers and homemakers are not, it sends a message that some jobs are more important to God than others are.
In numerous churches the traditional Harvest Festival service has been transformed into a festival of work. Other churches use Labour Day services for this purpose. People come dressed in their work clothes and bring objects related to their work to place around the front of the sanctuary.
The high point is a commissioning service in which everyone is commended to God for their ministry in daily life. Festivals: Many churches are using Harvest Festival, or Rogation or Industrial Sunday, or Labour Day festivals to celebrate workplace experiences and explore work-related issues in creative ways. Worship and Small Groups: Surveys suggest that although pastors think people talk about work issues in small groups, in fact they seldom do unless these issues are also raised in the congregational setting.
This suggests that work-related issues need to be named in preaching and prayers and testimonies and other meaningful ways in services if they are going to stimulate conversations beyond the worship service. At Ilam Baptist Church Christchurch, New Zealand several home groups decided to take the daily work of their people more seriously.
They ask questions and end by praying for that person in their work and for the good of the enterprise and people they work with. The report concluded that churches need to transition from the role of spiritual parent encouraging dependence on church programmes to spiritual coach providing resources for people to feed themselves. They also consider how the form and content of their worship services may need to change.
A number of churches have started faith and work resource centres and web pages. Faith and Work resources designed specifically for churches may be found, among other places, at the websites of:. Worship and Ethics: Does churchgoing make a difference to the ethical perspectives of regular attenders?
According to research done by Robin Gill and others who have examined the results of values surveys in Britain, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the answer is a clear, but qualified, yes. Qualified, because according to these surveys, this is only true with regard to a few issues of personal morality in particular sex, stealing and accumulating wealth , and not related to wider ethical considerations having to do with business, the environment and government. We can also start to explore more deliberately and carefully the working lives of biblical characters who faced ethical challenges in their places of work and encourage Christians to relate these examples to their own circumstances.
Some churches have started year-long fellows or internship programs for recent university graduates committed to integrating faith and work. The fellows form a close-knit community of worship and prayer under the leadership of a local pastor and a workplace Christian. They study the biblical and theological foundations of work, then apply their studies while working in ordinary jobs. They are paired with Christian mentors in their fields.
Smaller churches can work together to create programs, and in many cities, they have received assistance from The Fellows Initiative , an outgrowth of the program at the Falls Church. Often a local university, seminary or workplace ministry contributes expertise and organizational stability.
Benedictions: Benedictions that speak of God sending his people into the world to make a difference there can remind people that God is with them in their work. See Reveal: Where are you? By Greg L. Hawkins and Cally Parkinson Chicago: Willow, Once a month people gather in a central city venue in Christchurch, New Zealand. It is 7. For the first 20 minutes there is buzz of lively conversation.
The aim is to keep it honest, down to earth and catch a glimpse of everyday discipleship, rather than focus on more dramatic stories from professional speakers. There is time for questions. Sometimes a case study is presented for discussion. Formalities are concluded by 8.
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Many cities around the world have similar gatherings. These churches are helping their people discover new ways of nourishing and living out their faith in the course of their daily work. This includes helping to provide people with Bible reading and prayer resources to encourage personal spiritual disciplines, as well as other recommended readings and taped or video material dealing with work issues. It may also mean encouraging the congregation to get involved in small work-related prayer groups, personal mentoring, peer groups, or seminars. Sometimes these approaches are embarked on in partnership with other churches or parachurch ministries.
Members of the Theology of Work Project decided that three sorts of resources were particularly lacking. These included a commentary on each book of the Bible explored from a workplace perspective, a simple statement of core beliefs to help in the construction of a sound theology of work, and the exploration of key workplace topical issues from a biblical and theological perspective in an easy to read format. These are now freely available on the Theology of Work website.
Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York runs regular classes lasting five weeks each that deal with faith and work issues. These series include Why Work? It is clear that not everyone starts to examine faith and work issues for the same reasons. David Miller identifies four different doors people walk through to explore the integration of faith and work: Evangelism, Ethics, Experience integration of a compartmentalised life , and Enrichment a more nourishing everyday spirituality.
One quadrant may be the initial concern that gets a person started in the process of seeking a more holistic integration of faith and work, but they may also go on to explore other dimensions of integration over time. Hence churches wanting to support Christians at work need to be aware that different approaches are required to connect with the needs of people at different starting points. Moreover, a holistic approach should probably include all four dimensions.
Crossroads Career Network is a not-for-profit ministry at Perimeter Church, Atlanta, USA, which seeks to provide contacts, counsel, and encouragement to help you find a job, a career, your calling. Perimeter's Crossroads Career Ministry offers monthly career meetings that become foundations for support and spiritual growth. Each meeting includes a short presentation by a guest speaker or expert in the business community.
Attendees gain insight and instruction on what scripture teaches about employment and provision from God. There is no charge to attend. For Eugene Peterson the challenge lies in affirming the worth of the everyday ministry of all the people of God:. Every time it is used, it drives a wedge of misunderstanding between the way we pray and the way we work, between the way we worship and the way we make a living God comes into view on the first page of our scriptures as a worker.
Each church needs to identify the particular opportunities and challenges their people face in their places of work. Do people work as professionals, managers, labourers, technicians, public servants, teachers, or service workers? The opportunities and challenges vary widely between these types of work. This could be a resource for churches looking for examples. See for example Gregory F. Timothy J. At Redeemer Church in New York there are at least 18 major professional groups, e, g.
Redeemer also runs a 9 month Gotham Fellowship internship program based on set readings, discussions and seminars to encourage spiritual growth and methodical reflection as interns continue to work. Redeemer also runs an annual competition for entrepreneurs.
Smaller churches may work together, perhaps in partnership with a seminary or other organization, to form a larger pool of workers so that most occupations can have their own group. Effectively equipping church members for daily life and work requires significant investments of money and staff time. This may mean reallocating resources to support ministry in daily life and work. At the most advanced equipping churches, this is now a budgeted item. This is a fair test of how seriously the challenge has been taken.
Those churches that do invest realise daily life and work is where faith is lived out in front of the world and is where the future of the church is being decided. Equipping people is a complex business. Structures can help to facilitate or hinder ministry. What is a help for the first generation often becomes a hindrance for the next, because energy ends up serving and resourcing the structure, but not necessarily serving the originally intended function.
Form should always follow function and not the other way around.
The Equipping Church: Serving Together to Transform Lives
The dream that births any structure needs revisiting regularly to see if it is still being pursued or if that vision has been lost or distorted. At the same time, any successful attempt at ministry or mission also needs structures to maintain and facilitate its sustainability. Perhaps the most elaborate example of this in terms of churches involved in workplace ministry is the structure that Katherine Leary Alsdorf and her team now led by David Kim have developed at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York.
Their Faith and Work Center includes a team of staff members who each head up different areas of ministry such as their Arts Ministry, Entrepreneurship Initiative, and Gotham Fellowship intern programme. The staff also co-ordinates the leadership of eighteen different Vocational Groups, each of which also includes a number of sub groups. A number of other churches also have staff who specialise in resourcing and supporting those who are unemployed or looking for work.
Saddleback Community Church provides resources every week for small groups that serve some Christians who meet regularly to discuss biblical perspectives on faith and work issues. One church member is contracted part-time to prepare studies for these groups. They also run a website and send out weekly Workplace Wisdom emails for encouragement and to stimulate reflection.
The challenge for churches just beginning on this journey is deciding which structural elements are important to start with. The Imagine Church Project suggests beginning with the formation of a core team. This helps provide continuity and maintain adequate funding and other resources. The challenge is to create an institutionalized centre while maintaining the flexibility to engage a younger generation to build their own ministries.
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The leaders of equipping churches have started to think about the complete mission of God as well as church growth. They are thinking about how they can help to enhance the everyday ministry and mission of their people in the world as well as through their own church programs and ministries. They are thinking about what their people are doing all the time and not just with their spare time. They also realise their own limitations and are recruiting lay leaders to head up workplace ministries.
It is easy to blame church leaders for the failure of churches to resource their people better for ministry in daily life. We are looking for Christians who want to be ministry partners. Contact us to discuss the ways that we can work with you to equip you to minister the truth and grace of Jesus.
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