Home » Equipping » Something old may just be something new!

Something old may just be something new!

I haven’t blogged in well over a month. I haven’t felt like I had anything new to say. Maybe I don’t. But in the past two weeks I’ve had two conversations with ministry leaders from two churches in two states, each of whom sharing with me something that set off my equipping alarm! I have been reminded that each person learns at their own speed, implementing what they can, when they can. In other words, when someone attends a training or reads a book or blog, there may be only one or two points that grab their attention and around which they take action.

Case in point: in the first conversation, the ministry leader shared that their church had enthusiastically encouraged gifts discovery, providing curriculum and a class for those who were interested in learning. Many of their members went through the class and were excited to learn their spiritual gift. However, there was no follow through. No follow up. No process for helping those folks find a serving opportunity that would utilize their gift in fruitful ministry.

This reminds me of the first Christmas we gave our son an electronic toy. He squealed with excitement when he opened his gift, then cried with equal fervor when it wouldn’t work because we had neglected to purchase the necessary batteries. I saw the same frustrated disappointment on the face of my grandson just a few weeks ago when, after gleefully ripping the wrapping paper off a Christmas present, he was told he couldn’t open the box to play with the toy because his momma was concerned that the small parts would be lost in all the empty boxes and wrapping paper. What’s the fun of opening a gift that you can’t use?

In the second conversation, a ministry leader shared that they had at one time offered a discovery process, but it had now been years since spiritual gifts was a topic of conversation around the church. New folks who had come since that time had not been provided an opportunity to discover their unique design for ministry, and those who had participated previously had not been encouraged to re-visit the process to see what new thing the Holy Spirit might be doing in their lives to birth new ministry.

In each of these cases, a discovery process was implemented–probably in response to a new idea gleaned from a book or a training–but the process was incomplete in the first instance, and relegated to a program (with a predictable end) in the second. I’ve no doubt that the intention of each of these ministry leaders was to encourage their congregation to serve, but they had only a partial understanding and implementation of what is necessary to equip their people for fruitful and fulfilling ministry.

These conversations lead me to believe that I may not have anything new to say, but the stuff I’ve said before bears repeating. With that said, I will focus the next few posts on casting the vision for what is necessary to create and sustain an equipping culture. For those of you who have heard it all before, I hope you will share your thoughts, experiences, and suggestions to make that which is old (to you) into something new for others…and perhaps for yourself, too!

something old made new

2 thoughts on “Something old may just be something new!

  1. Great wisdom Andee! In the first couple months of my first call as Director of Ministries someone took me up to the library and showed me their “time and talent” files. I asked him the last time they did one and he couldn’t remember. I looked at them and they were older than I was! Upon further investigation I asked why they hadn’t done one recently and exactly like you said, NO FOLLOW UP! That was the biggest hurdle to overcome when we started doing gift discovery as a congregation. It wasn’t always that they didn’t think they needed to or that they didn’t want to share, it was also they didn’t see the point. In their experience it was just going to sit in a filing cabinet somewhere and never be used. No one was every going to actually call on them to put their gifts and passion to use. FOLLOW UP is SO SO SO vital to helping people to connect to their sweet spots in a ministry.

    It is also important to have a process. The church I am attending now has “just come” attitude. They do it because they think that is the most welcoming way to do it, but as a new person in such a large church (the worship something like 1000+ on a weekend) is that it is intimidating to just show up to a ministry group. Even for someone as confident and experiences as me in church and how church bodies work, it is hard. Think of it as an outsider coming it, it is difficult! Having some sort of process to engage and guide people to ministry and small groups is essential in welcoming into the body and helping them find a community/family.

  2. Thank you, Rachel! Yes, I’ve experienced that “just come” approach, too. The idea seems so welcoming, but in reality it can be very uncomfortable–especially for folks who are more introverted by nature. I think a better approach is to build a process around hospitality, e.g., intentional opportunities for newcomers to connect with a ministry group at a time when the group isn’t heavily engaged in a task. The atmosphere can be more casual and relaxed, without sacrificing the mission of the group.

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