What Does Equipping The Saints Mean?


Why I Wouldn’t Want The Five Fold In My Church – Part VIII


….. because the purpose of the five fold is to “equip the saints” for what? Oh, “works of service”! Oh, janitorial and secretarial work or lawn care or building maintenance! But wait! To develop them into evangelists, shepherds, teachers, prophets, and apostles? Inconceivable! That would require laity to become active, not passive or lethargic. That would require them to become active, not in church programs, but in service to one another.

The opposite of apathy is activity, so what should the church be doing to keep their parishioners, congregation, or laity active? You keep them busy. Is that the calling of the church? I have caught myself being “church busy” often in my life, but that came to a halt when I saw that the church is suppose to “equipping the saints for the works of service.”

What does “equipping the saints for the works of service” mean to the church today? Does it mean giving them opportunities to volunteer for janitorial, secretarial, or building maintenance work, or being involved in committees? Does it mean staffing the nursery, aiding in children’s ministry, ushering, parking cars, greeting, being “auxiliary personnel”, etc. to keep the Sunday morning program efficient and friendly?

How many people in your congregation actually go out and evangelize, or nurture the younger saints in their walk with Jesus, or passionately dig into studying the Word or listening to the voice of God for themselves, or work towards networking others in their diverse giftings to bring unity to the body but releasing the creativity that is already there?

What would happen if the attitude was changed from “call the pastor” to directly  ministering to one another within the local body, a thing called body ministry, by the saints to the saints? What would happen if God’s people began doing what they had required of their pastor because they want to serve one another, and he would have nothing to do but “see over” what the Holy Spirit is already doing amongst the congregation? Would he still be worth his wages, or must he be busy “doing” too?

Ephesians 4 doesn’t say to “equip the saints” to keep them busy. Being too busy can also be destructive. Americans are always busy; having time to do something is a precious commodity! We, as a Church, have been exhorted to “equip the saints for works of service.” We are called to serve; church leadership is called to equip us, not do it for us!

If my church keeps me busy by having me volunteer to keep a building looking nice and to keep programs running smoothly, then I think we missed the mark, and they will NOT be receptive to the five fold as passions to be released among the saints. The Church is about birthing, nurturing, training, equipping, and releasing through relationships between believers, not about programs, rituals, and traditions.

To truly equip the saints for works of service would require a radical mind set change in the way Christian leadership thinks, acts, and reacts. So until that mindset becomes a reality (through revival, a cocoon stage), my church will not be open to, nor want, the five fold.