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Equipping the Saints....what does that mean?

Discussion in 'Spirit-Filled / Charismatic' started by MadameGuyon, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. MadameGuyon

    MadameGuyon Guest

    Many churches today are recognizing that the 5-fold ministry (apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher, and evangelist) is given as gifts to the Church in order to equip the saints. But what exactly does that mean, in practical terms?

    What might take place in an 'equipping church'?
     
  2. Deba

    Deba The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want (period)

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    What might take place in an 'equipping church'?

    Sound Bible teaching and preaching. Leaders/elders who meet and follow the biblical models set forth. A balance of freedom and discipline for everyone. Openness, friendliness and caring encouraged.

    As believers mature they find a place of service and learn to work with other spirit-led people who they may work for or be placed over.

    Encouragement from a heart-felt belief that being a Christian is who we are 24/7, and most of the work of the church people should take place out of the church walls.

    Enc
     
  3. Tobias

    Tobias Relationship over Religion

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    Most churches I've been in have a "hero" mentality. The pastor is so good at being a Christian, and is so well equipped at operating in the gifts of the Spirit, that we all sit back and watch him do his thing. Guest speakers will come in and do the same. Prophets come through and show off their gifts too. Everybody in the audience is blessed a little bit, but nobody is equipped.

    What I have a vision for, and would love to see someone do, is to call forth members of the audience and have them participate. Instead of just calling people out and giving them a word or letting them know that God wants to heal them right now; why not take it one step further and call out a prophet or healer to do the job? If God has does have a word for someone, then often times different prophets will receive the same thing. Same thing with healing.

    I think it would be incredibly helpful to know people in your church who God has shown to work through in these certain ways, and let them be the ones who see the power of God move through them under the corporate anointing; rather than having one person steal the show every time.
     
  4. JimB

    JimB Legend

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    According to Vine’s Dictionary of New Testament Words, the word for “equip” (KJV perfecting) is “katartismos.” It is from the root “katartizo” and means ...
    “to render fit, complete" (artios), "is used of mending nets, Matt_4:21; Mark_1:19, and is translated 'restore' in Gal_6:1. It does not necessarily imply, however, that that to which it is applied has been damaged, though it may do so, as in these passages; it signifies, rather, right ordering and arrangement, Heb_11:3, 'framed;" it points out the path of progress, as in Matt_21:16; Luke_6:40; cp. 2_Cor_13:9; Eph_4:12, where corresponding nouns occur. It indicates the close relationship between character and destiny, Rom_9:22, 'fitted.' It expresses the pastor's desire for the flock, in prayer, Heb_13:21, and in exhortation, 1_Cor_1:10, RV, 'perfected' (AV, 'perfectly joined'); 2_Cor_13:11, as well as his conviction of God's purpose for them, 1_Pet_5:10. It is used of the Incarnation of the Word in Heb_10:5, 'prepare,' quoted from Psalm_40:6 (Sept.), where it is apparently intended to describe the unique creative act involved in the Virgin Birth, Luke_1:35. In 1_Thess_3:10 it means to supply what is necessary, as the succeeding words show. Denotes, in much the same way as katartisis, ‘a fitting or preparing fully,’ Eph_4:12. " (copied and pasted)
    ~Jim

    It isn’t what a man doesn’t know that hurts him as much as what he knows that just ain’t so.
     
  5. KingZzub

    KingZzub Blessed to Be A Blessing

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    It is not as simple as that. My passion for equipping the saints to do the work of Jesus has led to me writing a book on the subject (available from our church website, pm me if you want details).

    I was preaching in a church a few months ago and the pastor introduced me with "This is an anointed man of God, he laid hands on someone in his church last week who was instantly healed of terminal cancer".

    I had to point out to the church, and I am not one for correcting a pastor in his own pulpit, that I never had a chance to lay hands on the man. The church laid hands on him and saw him healed before I even knew he had cancer. That is my vision and passion for church - in essence to train people how to minister healing and how to move in the prophetic so that I am essentially redundant as a worker and operate as a trainer.

    However that takes long term commitment. Let me explain: I was "guest preacher" in an AoG church a number of years ago, and it was a healing service. A lady came forward with chronic arthritis and I knew in my spirit she had the faith to receive healing.

    I said to the church - about 40-50 people if I recall rightly, though it might have been as few as 30 or as many as 70+ - "who believes Jesus is the Healer?"

    A healthy chorus of amens.

    I asked "Who believes Jesus is going to heal this woman right now?"

    Another round of amens.

    I asked "Who will get up and lay hands on this lady?"

    No one moved. No one spoke. No one dared look at me.

    In the end I had to lay hands on her. As soon as I did she went out under the power of the Spirit (which I remember clearly as that is not a normal occurence when I lay hands on people) and got up completely healed.

    I asked the Lord for an answer why everyone believed He was the Healer and why no one came forward to minister healing.

    He explained to me that everyone believed HE could heal, but they didn't believe HE could HEAL through THEM! Due to a sense of guilt or shame or whatever, they just didn't believe they were good enough to step forward into healing.

    Then the Lord said "And if they really knew you, they would realize you weren't good enough either!"

    The problem was I was the preacher from heaven, flown down into their pulpit and then flew back to heaven afterwards as far as they were concerned. This is why I am so in favour of local churches being key in everything a Christian does because that is where you find out that we all have feet of clay, but that God's love transcends our weaknesses and reaches into our hearts and enables us to minister life to people in our fraility and humanity. Awesome!

    But to train people like that requires more than a superstar person it requires the sharing of lives. I learned how to minister healing power through being part of a local church, and now as a pastor, I train people how to minister in the same power. I am using healing as an example, it could easily be any of the other works of ministry.

    We are modelled as a cell church and we are working out how to do what you want to see. It is not easy, but it is worth it.

    Blessings,
    Ben
     
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  6. KingZzub

    KingZzub Blessed to Be A Blessing

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    Thanks for that Jim, really insightful.
    Love the idea that equipping is mending a net rather than making one. There is a lot in that I want to cogitate on.

    Cheers,
    Ben
     
  7. Tobias

    Tobias Relationship over Religion

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    Reps! :thumbsup:


    Like I say, it's most of the churches I've been too that have the hero mentality. All it takes is a pastor with integrity to break the people out of this, and show them that they are really no different than he/she is.
     
  8. ARBITER01

    ARBITER01 Legend

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    An equipping church is what we should see out of every Christian church, unfortunately we don't, most function around their doctrines.

    Everyone should be able to be properly taught on their giftings to realize their destiny in Christ for the body. A prophet for instance, should receive proper teaching on the do's and don'ts associated with that position, and should also receive careful encouragement and critique.

    The Holy Spirit ultimately knows how to train each individual, but the body of Christ operates together, and should be able to provide some practical training and insight also.
     
  9. KingZzub

    KingZzub Blessed to Be A Blessing

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    It is not easy - and there is a great danger in going the other way and being "just one of the boys" which you cannot be. You are a spiritual leader which means you need to be a little in front of the others, but not so that they are applauding you, rather that they are following you.

    I haven't got it right all the time, but I know what I want and I am making conscience steps to reach that place.
     
  10. KingZzub

    KingZzub Blessed to Be A Blessing

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    :thumbsup:
     
  11. Tobias

    Tobias Relationship over Religion

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    So, you're telling me that it's not quite as easy as I make it sound? ;)


    Maybe it has to do with the misconceptions that most people have toward their leaders. Like you say, they think you "drop down from heaven" each week to preach on Sunday!

    Interesting how people are so careful not to worship angels (who actually do drop down from heaven to minister to us), yet then we develop unhealthy attitudes and respect for our human leaders in the Church! We would never think to elevate an angel into this kind of position (between us and God), yet pastors are expected to be there. Breaking out of the mold and teaching differently must be a difficult thing to do, now that you got me thinking about it.

    I imagine it effects the pocketbook too, as people wonder why they should give their hard earned money to someone who isn't superhuman, but is a lot like the rest of us!
     
  12. KingZzub

    KingZzub Blessed to Be A Blessing

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    If I am doing it the hard way, let me know because I would love to make things easier!!!

    I always tell people I am not their priest. One of the most important statements from the Reformation and one of the most ignored - or if it is mentioned is only paid lip service to - is the "priesthood of all believers". Charismatics will do ANYTHING not to be a priest and be in the presence of God for themselves. From the unbiblical doctrine that the man is the priest of the house (find me one Scripture, just one...) to the adulation of people with miracle ministries...

    That last sentence about the money is an interesting one. Do you think people give because they think someone is a superstar? I have never thought of that ever. I have always given due to the kingdom and due to being fed spiritually.

    I have always considered if we stopped giving to the beggars and started giving to the feeders, the only ministries on TV and radio would be those that fed us spiritually. TV beggars are our fault - we gave to the loudest shouters, not the best feeders!

    I always tell people two things:

    1. If I feed you well, then give as appreciation for that. Not that any of the money goes to me because I have a job, a very well paying one at that. I reckon I earn more than most of my church, if not all of them actually.

    2. I teach my people the vision: extending the kingdom. I let them know how much it costs to print the invite cards, buy food for the poor, buy Christmas presents for the elderly. I let them speak to our missionary friends in Burundi and let them see what the church has done across the world in the poorest nation in the world.
     
  13. MadameGuyon

    MadameGuyon Guest

    I appreciate your imput, Deba. One observation...........I find that my pastor doesn't want to "release" people into ministry in their gift areas until he thinks they are mature, but I don't see this in the bible.

    Jesus released his disciples to be apostles (the very foundation of the Church), and yet these are the same guys that just weeks before were fighting over who was going to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and even before that they were asking Jesus if they should call fire down from heaven on some people whose behavior they didn't like. Not very mature........yet they were released BIG TIME.
     
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  14. ARBITER01

    ARBITER01 Legend

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    Spiritual maturity is an absolute must for each ministry, but it is GOD who determines when each of us is ready for the ministry HE has given, not anybody else.

    That's GOD's business.

    It's not uncommon to see church leaders keep their congregations in diapers. I'm not advocating rebellion within the church, just that Jesus is to be Lord in hearts, not anyone else, and we are to follow the leading of The Holy Spirit no matter what. He is our absolute.

    Good topic btw.
     
  15. KingZzub

    KingZzub Blessed to Be A Blessing

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    I think the big thing that we all need to remember is that none of us are qualified or worthy to do the works of ministry! Only by His grace and by faith in His grace can we do the works of ministry.

    I think there is a balance - as leaders we need to know those who labour among us. Timothy was given very precise guidelines about the kind of maturity that elders need to possess before being appointed. I wouldn't ask just anyone to minister within the church, but I am open to the Holy Spirit and my own judgment.

    I am not convinced that pastors do it deliberately, it is just hard work to train people. Like some managers, they find it easier to do it themselves than train someone. Unfortunately, it curtails church growth.

    I don't think you should be a rebel in a church, but if your church doesn't feed you you owe it to your spirit to find one that does.

    Blessings,
    Ben
     
  16. heatherfb

    heatherfb God-chaser

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    Equipping church to me speaks of a fellowship where believers are being encouraged and moved on in their faith, they are going beyond being new converts, to having a deeper understanding of who God is and all that as believers is possible with God working through them. It also speaks to me about people's gifts being identified and them then being encouraged and matured to use those gifts for the good of the whole fellowship and beyond. I understand the five fold ministries as means by which guidance, teaching, support, insight etc can all be given to help every believer come into their God-ordained potential.

    As in most things its about balance. Those who are in these positions of pastor, teacher, etc must be mature sound believers with wisdom and authority but it can be dangerous if this then becomes a hierarchy with no accountability of its own.

    I must say I long for every church to be an equipping church and not just a place where people come to be entertained or to tick the "I've been to church today" box. Some fellowships are modelling it in a fantastic way but unfortunately it doesn't seem to be the "norm".
     
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  17. lismore

    lismore Legend

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    You are given equipment. You are told why you have to use it. You are told how to use it. Then you use it.
     
  18. Shepherd1

    Shepherd1 In Service To The Lord

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    Equipping the Saints has been a topic of popularity amongst us Christians for years. :D What it means to me is that when you read the Bible, God's Word, the Holy Spirit convicts and enlightens us to the many principles that we are to live by. We are being given the gifts, knowledge and necessary amunition to fight off the devil and his cohorts, and to live in close communion with the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour. God bless...
     
  19. Tobias

    Tobias Relationship over Religion

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    You've never thought about it, really??

    It's one of the main reasons I mentioned "integrity." I think that a lot of ministers are tempted to act and speak in a certain way to insure that they get bigger offerings. The more healings, salvations, or whatever else they can tally up to their own credit, the "bigger" their ministry tends to grow. When they sense that God wants to do something in someone's life, they swoop in and monopolize the show instead of using the opportunity to train someone else.
     
  20. KingZzub

    KingZzub Blessed to Be A Blessing

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    I honestly have never been money motivated, Tobias.

    I have given away everything I own about 4-5 times, I honestly don't care - I know God is my Father and I am worth far more to Him than the lilies, the poppies, the birds or the bees. He will always feed me and clothe me.

    I remember in Bible College some people would go preach because of the money aspect, I just went where the Lord told me. I ended up having bigger offerings than anyone else in places you just would not expect, and I never took my own offering and I never pushed people for money.

    I have been in meetings where there has been a push for money, and I just go "Ah well, that's me not giving" - if EVERYONE had that attitude, the beggars would stop begging. If we all gave only to ministries that were feeding us the Word the only large ministries would be those feeding us the world... am I that naive to believe that is possible?

    We have a church member who gives half her tithe to us, and half to a media ministry if I told you the name you would recognize it 100%. Do I bother? No - it's all Jesus' money. He will get to us what we need.

    Our church is very cash rich. Imagine a church of 8 about to take out 1 months worth of TV adverts on the most popular Christian TV station in England. That would be us!!! And we have no millionnaires, not at all.

    Blessings,
    Ben
     
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