Over the last few months I’ve been sharing with you about the ONE Programme – which amounts to every fellowship practising Outreach, Nurture, and Equipping in order to be highly effective churches. This edition concludes the trilogy.
I left school in 1974 (believe me I couldn’t wait) to enter the world of further education and work. My parents told me, “It’s up to you what you do as a career, but a man’s got to work to build a home and a family”. I guess what they were telling me was, “You’re at an age and maturity now where you need to start fending for yourself”. And that’s what we expect from our children - to become adults; able to support themselves; able to work to build their own lives and families; no longer dependent on their parents.
The latter part of schooling is supposed to prepare young people for their future life – to be able to make it on their own; to contribute to the building of society. This isn’t working very well in today’s western culture but, nevertheless, it’s what parents, governments, business leaders and society as a whole expects.
Our fellowships must have the same expectations of members. They should also have in place a process which helps young, developing members to be prepared for their future work (see Ephesians 2:10). We must realise that children don’t remain kids for long. They grow up having hopes and aspirations. It’s imperative they be equipped to lead meaningful, productive lives.
Plan to Equip
Children of Yahweh are called, saved and nurtured for one thing – to do some terrific work in the Kingdom. Equipping people shouldn’t be left to chance, that’s a sure way of failing them. It has to be purposely planned! Every person is unique, so their preparation for service should be tailored to suit their design – who they are. Church leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure a process is in place that allows every member to be fitted for the task(s) they’ve been called to do (Ephesians 4:11). It’s your job to figure out how to do it.
In the UK, when a person reaches the age of 17 they are deemed ready to be equipped for driving a motorcar. The learner driver has to follow a prescribed training package which includes learning the codes, signs and practices of being out on the road as well as the actual driving of the vehicle. The learner is tutored by an instructor whose only ambition is to help the individual pass the test. Passing the test simply means the person is ready to be on the road.
Similarly, leaders and ministers need to enrol young believers who are ‘of age’ on a prescribed training package that’ll fit them for effective service. This includes education that leads to action. This is precisely what Yahshua did with His disciples. He taught them, then gave them the opportunity to put it into practice (see Mark 6:6-13). Education only tells you ‘how’ – you also need practical experience (more on this later).
As a national church group the Congregation of Yahweh has a training package that covers the 3 areas of the ONE Programme, enabling each individual to learn the fundamentals of . . .
Tutors or mentors are assigned to each learner at every stage of their spiritual development.
I only really began to get the hang of driving after I passed my test. It’s only when you’re driving on the road without an instructor that you begin to get the experience you need to build confidence. Every driver will confess that after passing their test they made hundreds of mistakes and, in the process, upset other road users and were the cause of, or were involved in, at least one accident. We learn the art of driving through driving. Equipping our members for service is an essential task and has to be done intentionally. They must be given the necessary knowledge to accomplish their calling; however, the best learning they’ll make about serving and ministry is in the act of serving. So, a key element in the equipping process is to ensure that young, growing and developing members have consistent opportunities to serve in areas that fit their gifts. Let’s remember, while serving they will make mistakes, but that will only help improve their service.
When we have members who are properly equipped and participating in the work of ministry, they themselves will grow; they will be fulfilled; the church will grow, and the light of Yahweh’s kingdom will be more visible in our communities. That’s what we all want!
 See July’s edition which discusses graduating from ‘milk’ or baby stage to ‘solids’ or maturing stage.
We must open the doors of opportunity. But we must also equip our people to walk through those doors LYNDON B JOHNSON
The great aim of education is not knowledge but action HERBERT SPENCER
Maturity begins to grow when you can sense your concern for others outweighing your concern for yourself JOHN MacNAUGHTON
All Scripture is [Yah]-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of [Yahweh] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
HEAVENLY FATHER, I know you want to work through me and my colleagues to equip your people to do the work of ministry – we need your help! I now offer myself wholly to you, inviting you to open the eyes of my heart to understand what I must do, together with other ministers, to advance this particular area of your work. Through the power of your Spirit give us the wisdom and courage to ACT!
For just as each of us has one body with many members...