And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ -- Ephesians 4:11-12, NKJVOne of the most challenging things to do in the church is to equip people for ministry. It is challenging in a number of ways. First, it is challenging because people have so little time available to them that sometimes they barely have time for the ministry to which they believe God has called them, much less time to be trained or re-trained. However, perhaps the bigger challenge to equipping people for ministry is not in the equippees, but in the equippers--we who are leaders in the church. Frankly, it is a whole lot more efficient in the short term to do things yourself than it is to teach others to do them. It also means that the tasks will be done to one's own satisfaction and in the way that one wants them to be done. That being said, it is profoundly unbiblical to do things ourselves. Even if we are doing ministry "solo" we are really doing it in partnership with God, and God wants to be in partnership with us. God is all-powerful and could simply think something and it would be done. Yet God models for us a partnership in which human beings are integral to God's work in the world.
I write the above because we are at the beginning of a five week Lenten Series that I've entitled "Being an Episcopal Christian." In that series we'll explore what it means to be a Christian, an Anglican, an Episcopalian, and a member of this parish and diocese. At the same time, the Diocese of El Camino Real has begun their Diocesan Center for Spiritual Leadership with a session this past Saturday at St. Paul's, Salinas. Here are some highlights:
The challenge for me, and for many people I suspect, is to take time to both be equipped for the ministries to which God has called us and to take time to equip others for the ministries to which God has called them. God give us the strength, especially this Lenten season, to have the discipline to do so.