The job of a leader is to equip their followers to serve others and to empower growth and maturity. Full stop. Period. Dot.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
Wow, this is good.
If we really want to measure our effectiveness as leaders–in and out of the church–we need to be equipping. That means giving our followers the tools they need to learn, mature, lead, and then equip others to do the same.
Equip Like An Apostle
“The Carrier of the DNA”
I believe we are all apostles, which simply means “sent one.” To equip in this facet of church leadership, we need to ignite a pioneering spirit, and we must begin to recognize and cultivate leaders.
I think a true test of an “apostolic” or missional spirit of a church is if the leaders are being sent or hoarded. Are you keeping the best for yourself, or are you sending the best out? We should be giving our followers the tools to replicate the gospel in others and to create churches in every setting and culture.
Equip Like A Prophet
“The Listener and Revealer”
We can all be prophets as well–by listening to God and communicating to others what God is revealing to us. To equip this gift, we need to teach and model how to read and study God’s Word and how to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Equip Like An Evangelist
Are you a good communicator? As a leader, it’s a prerequisite. The evangelist is like God’s recruiter and therefore must always be communicating the gospel message and connecting the Message to the people.
Provide opportunities for people to practice giving their testimony and how it points to Christ. Clear, concise, and straightfoward, not just presenting information but connecting with their audience.
Equip Like A Shepherd
“The Feeder of the Flock”
The pastoral facet of leadership must be modeled in our actions: caring and protecting of followers, and initiating and developing relationships.
We can equip “the saints” with awareness, servanthood, and compassion: Open eyes to the needs of the world, instill a servant’s attitude, and be an example of love to those that are hurting.
Equip Like A Teacher
“The Studious Sage”
We must teach good study habits, good communication habits, and inspire a thirst for knowledge and wisdom. Teach with clarity and organization and learn not to accumulate and hoard knowledge, but share and spread it!
No matter what our main giftings, or those of our followers, we need to teach and equip ALL of these traits. Conversely, if we are a follower or someone who is being discipled, we need to seek ALL of these gifts, not just one or two.
What are some other ways to equip according to people’s gifts?
Some brilliant thoughts on this subject can be found in Alan Hirsch’s The Forgotten Ways.