“And He gave…some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry for the building up of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12
The challenge has not changed since Paul first gave it to the church at Ephesus…equip the saints! And if we want our new groups to succeed, they must not only be prayerfully and properly enlisted, but they must be carefully equipped.
My friends in ministry, Dr. Lawrence Phipps, pastor of Vaughn Forest Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama, along with Daniel Edmonds, Director of Sunday School and Discipleship for the Alabama Baptist Convention have develop an equipping strategy that we in Mississippi adopted and adapted with their permission. It is calls Sunday School TEAMS, an acrostic representing leaders of Sunday School classes and small group Bible studies.
They have written a great manual Growing Sunday School TEAMS to share this strategy. There are job descriptions for each position. That has been the key for us. Enlist with job descriptions and equip to and with the understanding of the job description given. Theirs is a good example. When we let leaders know what is expected and then equip them in the how-to-do what is expected, we will get far better results.
But that is just the beginning. There must be continued equipping. It would be great to have follow up training monthly for problem solving, future planning, ministry to/with members, and reaching new members. Wayne Poling has written an excellent resource piece Sunday School Manual which more ideas for continued leader equipping and problem solving.
Equipping the saints never ends, it should just get better. It should get so good that we fulfill Paul’s challenge to young Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach other also.”
Let’s be faithful equippers, who can likewise be faithful equippers, who can be faithful equippers!
Kiely Young is the Director of Sunday School for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board.