Equipping the Saints.
Not wanting to go to college, my parents suggested I go into the military, specifically the US Air Force. I did, right after I graduated from high school and a second time after getting my degree.
All of the U.S. military services have basic training bootcamps (enlisted and officer) that tear down bad civilian habits and build up good military habits so that every individual is motivated and performs the same when called.
While some consider that today’s service members portrayed in Hollywood movies are merely automatons, just machines following orders, the fact is their performance is only enhanced by their individuals personalities and talents that are brought to use in a team environment.
How the military trains individuals as part of a team is how the church should train, if they correctly train at all. But here is our mandate:
Eph 4:11-12 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
In order to become a saint, you need to become a believer in Jesus Christ as your Savior. After that, these next steps are essential.
Equipping the Saints…
Having had two meetings recently with two Christian businessmen, they both reenforced my thoughts and experience and I came away with much dread and encouragement. They both, as I have seen over the months since I have published my second book, HWJDB How Would Jesus Do Business?:
- Reenforced what I’m seeing in the church: The failure or weakness of church leaders to fully equip and prepare the body of Christ for their work of service in the marketplace (The marketplace is one part of the Reclaim the 7 Mountains focus, education, government, media, arts and entertainment, family, and religion are the other six.).
- Encouraged that all three of us are on the right track to what needs to happen: The need to fully train and equip members for their work of service, NOT to serve their church, but to serve the church, with Christ as the Head.
The word “equipping” in the Greek is καταρτισμός katartismos and means, “complete furnishing, equipping,” but it means much more than that. The root word is καταρτίζω katartizō means, “to complete thoroughly, i.e. repair (literally or figuratively) or adjust:—fit, frame, mend, (make) perfect(-ly join together), prepare, restore.”
What does it mean, then?
Church leadership should repair lives that are damaged, much like a doctor sets a broken bone, so it can heal. When military members are injured in battle, they’re stabilized with first aid and then moved to the hospital to be taken care of, healed, and if able, put back into service doing their jobs.
What happens in a church? “You’re damaged, leave our church!”
If Jesus healed, should we not heal others, too? And do that first? Get them healthy so they can better perform the assignment God has called them?
That means that the fight should not be in the church, but in the marketplace as a witness of His light in Jesus in this secular world. When Paul talked about the body of Christ being an eye, ear, or foot in 1 Corinthians 12, it means the eyes do not fight with the ear, but work together. While the military might have a “search and destroy” mission, our mission in the marketplace is to “search and share” the gospel so the Holy Spirt can save them. Once they’re saved, repair and heal their heart and soul, now we move to the second step.
What does it mean when a church is to prepare or equip its members?
We’re to edify it’s members following these steps:
- Finding out what each individual’s talents and strengths are and spiritual gift is and helping them develop them to increase their ability to perform that which God has designed them to do.
- Connect with other team members that are strong in their weakness and partner up as team member in the cause for Christ.
- Then as a productive team, search out others in the marketplace to serve them.
In essence, they’re to use all of their God-given talents and their one spiritual gift…
…For the Work of Service
Once both actions are done above within the walls of the church, repairing individuals and then rightly equipping them others and connecting them together as a team for Christ, then we’re ready for the fight. Like a military member that is fully healthy and trained, we’re to be put into battle using the “full armor of God” each doing their God-given assignments with others and for others.
Lastly, regarding Christians in business, here is a quote from a study that compares the results from “blessers” (those in business) and “converters,” (those in the clergy):
“….Russell (2010) studied BAM [editor, Business As Mission] extensively and found that what he called “blessers” (which fit the faithful presence model) had a much better rate of salvations than what he called “converters” (which focus on evangelization alone). The results were startling with a ratio of 48:1 for the “blessers.” Quoted source is here.
Translation: Christians in business who exhibit the Christ-like qualities of the fruit of the Spirit have a higher salvation rate. That means pastors and clergy need to get with God’s program and start influencing and training better marketplace ministers (CEOs, CFOs, CXOs, etc.) and ministries than implementing more church programs and merely see businesses as an ATM to fund their wishes.
If you want to know more about having a Christian business, purchase my book, HWJDB How Would Jesus Do Business? to learn more