Equipped for a mission-focused
Journey With Jesus

Process of Development: Empower

When people are empowered to participate in an area of ministry that is a good fit for them, they often end up bringing something new or doing things better.

By Cara Garrity, Development Coordinator

Have you ever had the frustrating experience of finding the perfect outfit, but the event gets cancelled? Or maybe you trained really hard to make the soccer team, but all you do is sit on the bench. Or maybe your parents always lingered while you were doing chores to make sure you did it their way. It brings to mind that time old phrase “all dressed up with nowhere to go”.

We create similar frustrating experiences when we engage and equip people for ministry but then do not empower them to participate and lead in ministry. Relationships are built, and people are equipped to participate in ministry as an expression of discipleship and response to their calling. Imagine the frustration when the event gets cancelled, they get benched, or someone constantly hovers over them to make sure they do things the “right way.”

Without effective empowerment, effective engaging and equipping falls flat – people are kept from fulfilling their purpose. We engage and equip so that we can empower. Think about Ephesians 4:11-16, a guiding passage for development in GCI. For what purpose are God’s people equipped? For works of service so that his body may be built up. God’s people are equipped to participate in his present ministry. We are equipped to get in the game, not sit on the sidelines!

To empower in GCI ministry is to create space and to commission.

To empower is to create space for the person to participate or lead. Sometimes this means creating a new space that didn’t exist before. Sometimes this means a seasoned leader needs to step aside to create space for an emerging leader to be empowered. Sometimes this means expanding a team to create space. There are many ways to create space, and it is critical that space is created.

Within the space that is created, we then have to set folks free to do what they’ve been equipped to do. The challenging part is that this means letting others do things differently than we would do or have been doing. We need to stop hovering over others to make sure they do it “the right way.” The beauty of this is when folks are empowered to participate in an area of ministry that is a good fit for them, they often end up bringing something new or doing things better.

Commissioning is one way to affirm the empowerment of leaders in front of the community. It is a public declaration that a person has been gifted, equipped, and now empowered to lead an area of ministry in the neighborhood and local church. Commissioning in front of the community is one way a pastor can recognize another’s authority to lead and move towards a more team-based ministry.

As we create ministry space and commission, clarity is our friend. Ministry descriptions can help with that. Ministry descriptions outline the key responsibilities of a ministry leader, their commitments, areas of oversight and authority, and bring clarity to the boundaries of their authority and ministry space. Clarity nurtures trust. Where there is trust, empowerment can be realized to its fullest potential.

Some questions to consider:

  1. Where does clarity need to be established?
  2. Where does ministry space need to be created?
  3. What ministry space needs to be created for ministry leadership? For ministry participation?
  4. Who is leading ministry in a capacity where they should be commissioned in the coming year?

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