From Enabling Apathy To Promoting Equipping


Why I Would Want The Five Fold In My Church – Part VIII


….. because instead of enablement and inactivity, it promotes equipping and releasing of believers in Jesus to actively pursue service.

As a 21st Century Church we are not doing a very good job at what we call discipleship and promoting the Great Commission. American Christians have gotten lazy. Keith Green sang his “Asleep In The Light” song in the 1980’s; its prophetic message still rings in my ears. The average American Christian has chosen not to make Christianity its daily way of life, opting to be passive, and allowing themselves to be enabled by its leadership to the point of inactivity even while you are attending a church service or gathering. Like Keith called us out on over3 ½ decades ago, it is like we are a sleep in the light! What will be our wake up call?

The leadership team at the church I had attended is made up primarily of men who had Bible Degrees, not “uneducated” people, like Jesus’ 12 disciples. The Sanhedrin was amazed that these “uneducated” men of Galilee could speak with such authority. We, the church today, have made “education” a prerequisite to leadership, which is not what Jesus did. He had no Pharisees, Sadducees, or church officials on his leadership team of 12. He had men who may have come across as dumb, stupid, and always inserting foot into mouth, but men who were willing to follow Jesus, and later be taught by, and obedient to the Holy Spirit in all matters.

Jesus had poured three years of his life into building relationships with these 12 men. He walked, talked, and debated with them, took them of field trips of faith and a journey that would mold them into becoming leaders that would change the world. He never started a Bible College or seminary, not even built a church building; he invested in people by investing in relationships. Being Jewish, the 12 grew up being taught the Law, the Torah. They already had a Jewish Biblical perspective, but Jesus had to teach them how to make this written Logos Word, alive, relevant, a Rhema Word. He equipped them for their up coming faith journey, teaching them not only through parables but also personal dialogue, feeding the needy, healing the sick, taking care of widows and orphans, etc.  When they fought over position, he brought them back to relationships, emphasizing service, even washing their feet as an object lesson. He equipped them, and prepared them by giving them the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, and then released them for ministry. He promised them that they would not do this alone, but sent the Holy Spirit to be their “suitable helper”.

The book of Acts is not boring, but filled with action; there is no apathy or enabling but is filled with constant activity. Jesus gives gifts to men, and they use them, effectively. Jesus’ preparations and the equipping of the saints for the works of service propels a spiritual movement that changes the then known world.

The five fold calling is to “equip the saints for the works of service.” The 21st Century church needs to refocus it direction of equipping the staff for professional development to equipping its saints for works of service. Building relationships should take precedent over building programs and staff. People serving people; peers serving peers through sacrificial service, acceptance, grace, and mercy are the keys. Equipping the saints is more than taking a discipleship course or doing a Bible study on discipleship, it is about involvement, practical everyday experience, and community life. There is no room for apathy or enablement. It is a call to act-ion. The Church needs the five fold!