Equippers as Environmentalists: Re-Imagining Leadership in Today’s Western Church Part X
After an introduction – Part I, Part II, Part III, and looking at the five mega shifts happening in our Western Culture – Part IV ,Part V, Part VI and Part VII, and Part VIII, now it is time to re-imagine leadership in this context. Part IX starts the re-imaginging process and this post continues it.
Equippers as Environmentalist
While the five equippers are talked about more and more these days, I think we still need to work out how these people incarnate their ministry into the local congregation. Since a lot of baggage and misunderstanding sometimes surrounds the different equippers and the fact that language is dynamic and changing, I have given the five different equippers fresh translations, because sometimes giving new words to the same essential reality helps to bring needed life to old concepts and connect better with the culture in which God has placed us. What I want to do is first present a chart that helps describe the ministry of each of these equippers, an understanding that has been developing during my cohort studies. The chart below summarizes what I consider the focal concerns, destinations, and concrete practices that each of these equippers encourages. I also mention the unique ways in which the world tries to squeeze us into its mold. The last column speaks of the hope that we have in who we, as a community, will become as we engage in the concrete practices. (Click chart for larger image.)
The beauty of this vision of the equippers is that we don’t have to face these mega-shifts alone. We can learn to develop an expanding team of leaders who together can be the clergy awakening the rest of the clergy. For, as Markus Barth so aptly points out in his commentary on Ephesians, “The whole church is the clergy appointed by God for a ministry to and for the world” (Barth 1960:437). Paul tells us that when each of the equippers are equipping well, the whole body grows up to the full stature of Christ. This implies that the five equippers together represent the full ministry of Jesus. And while there are many other gifts that the Holy Spirit gives for the building up of the body (as mentioned in I Corinthian 12, Romans 12, and I Peter 4:7-11) each of these gifts are activated and flow in the ministry path of each of the equippers. The dignity and usefulness of the five equippers given to the church are as great or as small as their effectiveness in making every member, including the smallest and most despised, a redemptive agent in her own home and environment (Barth 1960:479).
When I think about equippers as environmentalists in light of their ministry that is reflected in the equippers chart earlier, here is an overview what it looks like. (Click chart for larger image.)
I will continue to develop this theme of Equippers as environmentalists in the next several posts by sharing some practical tools.