When Paul wrote that church leaders were to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Eph 4:12), he used the word KATARTISMOS. This word had a wide range of nuances, including:
- to complete,
- fit out,
- strengthen, and
Church leaders are to help God’s people complete or fulfill their priestly function (1 Peter 2:9). They are to furnish them with the tools necessary to carry out that ministry. Sometimes, they have to mend and repair a saint who has been wounded in the spiritual battle. At other times, they help them put on the final touches needed to launch a world-changing ministry that moves beyond the immediate reach of a particular congregation.
Making this a reality will require more than just preaching a series of sermons on the topic. It must be a holistic strategy for reproducing leaders.
At the close of his letter to the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, the author of Hebrews writes:
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20-21).
So, God is directly involved in the process of equipping His people. When a leader engages in equipping others, he or she is collaborating with God.
When people are equipped, they combine their forces and work with other believers to reach out to their communities. The forces that inhibit their growth recede. They become willing and capable of correcting life choice mistakes that pull them down.
God is in the business of equipping His people for ministry and when we engage in that process, we become His instruments for transforming the world.
* From James Strong. A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and the Hebrew Bible. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
Dr. Greg Waddell is passionate about helping church leaders equip their people for ministry. He believes there is wild potential in every believer that begs to be released. He can help you develop and implement practical strategies for increasing the ministry capacity of your congregation.