Welcome to October and Quarter 4!
In some churches this is the calm before the storm of Advent and Christmas. In others now is generosity time then all the rest. Either way, the busy of church life is upon us.
I know for some, as a solo pastor without a team, this season can make or break you. There’s just so much to do! This month we’re looking at teams and equipping the saints as is discussed in Ephesians. What lessons can we glean from this book on teaming and equipping? This is so important to a healthy and thriving ministry no matter how small or large. Without teams (paid or unpaid) the chances of burnout increases as well as a skewed sense of identity - think Messiah Complex. I have suffered from both so know you’re in good company.
Starting with Ephesians 1 I’ll share some themes we might consider as we broach the topic of equipping the saints.
"God put everything under Christ’s feet and made him head of everything in the church, 23 which is his body. His body, the church, is the fullness of Christ, who fills everything in every way." Ephesians 1:22-23
Know YOUR Place
Speaking of church teams assumes that people are committed to or striving in a relationship with Christ. This is evidenced by living, leading and serving with Christ as the head of the church and therefore the one who is over you and others on the team.
A church team without Christ acknowledged as head nor one that seeks to act accordingly becomes just another business or social organization. Let me tell you, there are churches in name alone out there.
We cannot relegate the spiritual formation of our team or our team members to be on Sundays alone. A thriving spiritual life with practices and fruit is imperative for those on the team or considered for the team. Now they may not start out this way, however as a leader choose people who are willing and excited to grow in the likeness of Christ.
Pray For The Team
The author of Ephesians writes a prayer of blessing for the people. I intersect differently with my team when I’ve prayed for them. I hold them with more care. Typically, after I pray for my family I lift up the people on my team. And when I didn’t have a team, I prayed that God would help me see the gifts of folks who could serve alongside me.
"I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, will give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation that makes God known to you." Ephesians 1:17
Let’s be careful about what we pray over our team. It would be easy to pray that they’d do what we want them to do. That’s a misuse of prayer. In Ephesians the author prays for their wisdom and a revelation of God. I love this. And I’m convicted of the times I’ve prayed prayers that didn’t center my teams growth and wisdom. Prayers that they’d know God more. At the end of the day, my team or team members to be belong God. God is the one who can shape and form and grow them individually and collectively. So pray and place them back in God’s hand.
Eventually, your team will have a team. Yay! The intention is that they will then pray for their own team as you pray for them. Teach your leaders to pray for their teams. Sometimes I model this by simply saying, I prayed for you all today. Or I remind them how important they are. That after I pray for my family, I pray for them. Then encourage and teach them to add praying for their teams at least weekly if not daily when they pray.
ACTION BRINGS CLARITY:
If you don’t have a team, pray daily for one. Pray that God helps you to see with wisdom who might be among you to serve in a specific way. Pray, also to see options beyond the church.
If you have a team, paid or unpaid, pray for them using the prayer in Ephesians. It starts with verse 17. Commit to praying for them in this manner and notice what thoughts, behaviors, or emotions occur in you and in them.