The Equipping Church Network newsletter was recently sent to pastors in the Charis Fellowship. It is included below and shared with permission.
Most of us know the difference between an organism and an organization. In an organism, structure grows out of relationships. In an organization, relationships usually grow out of structure. Further, organisms have life, which is not necessarily true of organizations.
But though most understand this difference in theory, many find it difficult to put into practice in the church. We all understand that the Church is the body of Christ, composed of all who know Christ personally, and given life by the Holy Spirit. We know as well that every local church is to seek to be a visible expression of the body of Christ, imperfect, to be sure, but seeking to “grow up into Him who is the Head, that is Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work (Ephesians 4:15-16).”
But even though we know that our churches are primarily to be expressions of the body of Christ, inevitably too many local churches are drawn into being primarily organizational, gradually losing their organic nature. And the more these churches lose their organic nature, the more they lose their spiritual life.
In saying this we are of course not implying that a local church is not an organization. We are saying that the organizational nature of the church can gradually quench its organic nature. The multitude of tasks too often overshadows the spiritual life of the people. When its primary purpose is to keep its structure operational, the church too often turns the church inward, blurring its sense of mission.
The Equipping Church Network is dedicated to helping churches maintain their organic nature. For those of you familiar with our documents, you know that we sometimes summarize our approach with the five “I’s:
Intercession. Prayer is the indispensable element for being an organic church—not just through lip-service or routine, but integrating prayer into every aspect of the ministry.
Identification. Every church must be able to identify its ministries. Equipping churches are able to focus on the development of open-ended ministry teams focusing on these needs.
Involvement. An organic church believes that every member is gifted for ministry and will focus on seeking to involve every member into a specific ministry.
Instruction. Training should be Spirit-led and holistic, targeting both the head, heart and hands. Ministry is not what we do for the Lord, but what He chooses to do through us.
Inspiration. The success or failure of infusing an equipping culture is directly related to the ability of the church to give value to those in ministry through positive affirmation.
In order to best help leaders in the Charis Fellowship, the Equipping Church Network has developed a survey for senior pastors that assesses the intentionality and fruitfulness of their equipping efforts. If you are a senior pastor and have not yet completed the survey, you may access it by clicking here surveygizmo.com/s3/4110627/Equipping-Survey.