What Does “Equipping The Saints” Mean? – Part V

 Releasing Different Personalities

In a previous blog, I have written about the song “Little Boxes”, where they all came out the same.  The Church as an institution is great at producing little boxes.  Baptist create little Baptist boxes. Lutheran boxes are different from Baptist boxes but all look the same. There are Pentecostal boxes, Roman Catholic boxes, even nondenominational boxes.  I don’t think those labels will be on the boxes when God’s UPS truck takes us to heaven!

If you are a parent having “several siblings”, you quickly learn that none of them are the same even though they possess the same DNA from the same parents!  The “perfect” child who slept throughout the night since birth is followed by the “child from hell” who screams, cries, and demands a feeding, diaper job, and cradling every two hours, twenty-four hours a day!  That is enough to quit having children, but then you stretch your limits and end up having a third child because you don’t remember making love while you both were sleep deprived!  The third child is even different from his/her other siblings!  How can this be?

There are spiritual parallels. Even though we have the same spiritual DNA of our Father God, it is amazing that almost every Christian I have ever met is different!  We have different drives, different passions, different looks, different cultures, different styles of dress, accents, and personalities.  Even though we carry the same label, Christian, we act differently, think differently, are motivated differently, etc.  We have come to learn that even though we are a Church, a body of Christ, maintaining the same image, that of Jesus Christ, we are still all uniquely made, uniquely designed, uniquely wired, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  It is amazing how God loves us individually, accepts us unconditionally, yet sees us corporately!

If we are “to equip the saints for service”, then what is that to look like? What are we shaping, molding, developing, transforming? When we are finished, what does a mature Christian look like?  The answer is as nebulous as a painted portrait of Jesus Christ.  We do not know what he actually “physically” looked like, but we do know “spiritually” and even “emotionally” what that looks like? Then why do we as a church so often look at the “physical” appearance of what a mature Christian looks like rather than developing the “spiritual” or “emotional” Christian which we are supposedly preparing and equipping?  I suppose, because of the diversity of the human experience we all come out differently.

So maybe we need to learn to accept our diversity.  Maybe we should first see what the DNA make up of a person is before we try to transform them into “little boxes”, cloned images of what we think a Christian should appear or be. One person’s DNA may hold the passion and drive for the lost as a predominate gene, while another may possess the drive to care for others, to shepherd as their predominate gene.  Another may find the combination of spiritual molecules to make them strong in teaching, or the prophetic, or even the apostolic.  Each Christian has a different drive, a different bent, a different spiritual personality that still exemplifies Jesus, but in diverse ways with diverse degrees of emphasis.  The key to “equipping the saints” is giving them, “equipping them”, with what they need to be successful on their spiritual journey.

As the Body of Christ, the evangelist needs the equipping of a pastor/shepherd to nurture their spiritual growth and the growth of those they “birth” into the kingdom as well as a teacher to anchor their work and drive in the Logos Word, the written Word, making it a prophetic Rhema Word, a living Word, while being guided by the apostolic over sight of what and how the Holy Spirit is doing in one’s life in edifying the Body of Christ.  The laying down of the lives of the pastor/shepherd, teacher, prophet, and apostle around the evangelist is the “equipping” of that person, giving them what they need to have a mature, balanced ministry in the kingdom of God, the body of Christ, the Church.

The “equipping of the saint for the work of service” can be diversely different for every believer in Christ that could be a logistical nightmare for the way we do church today, but is not difficult for the Holy Spirit who sees over the entire body of Christ, individually and corporately.

With the proper preparation needed, and the equipping of the five fold around them, believers in Christ can be “released” to allow their passion, their drive, their point of view, their motivation to arise, develop, and to flourish. This step is crucial in the development of every believer!

What does a “prepared” “equipped” believer in Jesus Christ, a mature Christian look like?  Because of the diversity of God’s DNA, it may look as varied as each grain of sand in the ocean!  That is why we need the Holy Spirit who is in each individual who professes Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord to arise and bring out the uniqueness of each individual to be combined with his corporate ability of unify and develop his Church into the image of Jesus Christ to be the agent, the teacher, the drive behind the development of believer in Jesus Christ individually and the Church as a whole corporately.  Only then will the diversity of the body of Christ be accepted, respected, and released!