From the September 2018 newsletter for the Equipping Network in the Charis Fellowship:
We are very thankful for the large number of churches that are actively applying the principles of Ephesians 4:9-16, infusing equipping into the culture of their churches. Sometimes people ask what is the most difficult aspect of equipping to implement. We think that it is without doubt perseverance.
Most pastors and churches find a great deal of satisfaction when they see many of their members get involved in ministries, members who formerly only sat through the services as ministry consumers. As we have said in the past, there is no greater gift we can offer to our people than the privilege of serving the Lord in His church. When it is done for the Lord, rather than for self-satisfaction, the recompense is eternal.
The pleasure of getting equipping started is one thing. However, keeping it as a vital aspect of the church is another. Once the newness wears off and the duties pile up, as a leader it is easy to slip back into the former habit of taking over and doing it himself, rather than taking the time to equip others. We need to keep in mind that equipping is a process and not a destination. Hebrews 10:36 certainly has an application to equipping: “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” And of course, this applies both to leaders, and to those they are equipping.
There are several helps in persevering. Monthly gatherings of team leaders are certainly a necessity when these encounters are focused on some of the outstanding things the Lord is doing both in the team members and in the people they are working with. Testimonies in the worship service can be a motivation for many people. And a yearly ministry fair offers to the entire body the great privilege of serving.
Another initiative that has had a very positive effect on pastors is being involved in a cohort. These are groupings, usually monthly, of five or six pastors who are committed to equipping. When they get together they are able to share both the achievements and challenges of getting the people involved in the ministries in their churches. These gatherings are also an opportunity to reach out to other pastors who are seeking to instill new vitality into their churches by developing an equipping culture. If you are not in one yet, how about getting one started. For information on how to start one simply email Tom Julien or Ed Short. Their email addresses are found below.