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The Power of the 4 Es

I would not be where I am today if others hadn’t been practicing the 4 Es in my life.

Allow me to share a personal story of the effectiveness of engaging, equipping, empowering, and encouraging.  Because of others speaking life into me, I have had opportunity to serve in various forms of leadership and ministry for almost 48 years. It started my senior year of high school when I was asked to be the president of our youth group.

I didn’t feel at all qualified and found it hard to believe I was asked. But my pastor saw something in me he wanted to see developed. I was known for my quick wit (aka jokes and sarcasm) and would often get the youth group laughing. My pastor determined to help me grow in maturity. He mentored me through my role as president of the youth group – helping me use my quick wit for good, rather than for just making people laugh. He was my pastor, but he became my mentor and my friend.

After college, I was a bit lost – not sure which direction God was leading me. I wanted to make a difference, but I still lacked maturity and needed opportunity to grow in leadership. Again, my pastor (a different one) gave me leadership opportunities by asking me to coach girls volleyball, and later to be president of our local speaker’s club. Again, he saw something in me I didn’t see in myself. He started by asking me to go to lunch so we could get to know each other – engagement. When he first asked me to coach volleyball, I admitted it was outside my skill level, so he sent me to a coaching clinic and asked others to work with me – equipping and empowering. Then we would get together every two to three weeks for lunch to talk and continue to build the relationship – encouragement. He continued to give me learning opportunities which often led to leadership opportunities.

I got involved with writing for the denomination through another mentor. I had written an article and turned it in. It was a mess. The manager of the denomination’s editorial department called me and asked me to come to his office – engagement. There he told me I had good ideas, but I didn’t know how to put thoughts on paper. He saw potential and asked me to take his writing class – equipping. He asked other writers and editors to help me develop a writing style, and he gave me several opportunities to write for our publications – more equipping and empowering. A year after taking his class, he asked me to work full-time in the editorial department and to write for all our publications – encouragement. Eventually, I became the editor of one of our publications, and I’ve been writing ever since.

When the denomination went through all our doctrinal changes, I was asked to go into full-time ministry. Again, I knew I had a lot to learn. There was much I didn’t know, and there was much I didn’t know I didn’t know. Fortunately, I was blessed with a supervisor whose greatest desire was to see me succeed. We spent a lot of time together – engagement. He was always available for calls and to answer questions. He was quick to send me training materials and to send me to conferences – equipping. When we had team meetings, he often asked me to present something I’d learned – empowering. And he was quick to call, email, visit, or find different ways to encourage me.

There have been others who have practiced the 4 Es with me, and I can honestly say I am where I am today because of the men and women who have spoken into my life. Yes, I very much believe I am where I am because God had a plan for me – and that plan included several others who were participating with him in leading me.

I am so thankful these men and women didn’t judge me for my quick wit (sarcasm), for my immaturity, or for my lack of experience. I am indebted to each one for choosing to engage with me, equip me for a specific opportunity, empower me by giving me responsibility, and encouraging me along the way.

Here are some questions for reflection:

  • Who has engaged, equipped, empowered, and encouraged you? Who has God placed in your life that has helped you be where you are today? (As a side note, have you thanked them?)
  • Who in your circle has the potential to be more than they are today? (Don’t let age, immaturity, sarcasm, or their past prevent you from seeing a potential leader or team member.)
  • What impact are you making in the life of another?
  • How often are you asking God to lead you to someone to engage?

Together, we can help engage, equip, empower, and encourage the next generation of leaders for GCI.

Rick Shallenberger

PS. You might be interested in a podcast I am cohosting with GCI friend Josh McDonald. Geocaching Scriptures is finding tiny treasures in the big truth. You can find it on Spotify or just Google the title.

3 thoughts on “The Power of the 4 Es”

  1. Excellent examples of the 4 E’s, Rick! I’m glad people saw your potential and encouraged you to do the things God wanted you to do. I also appreciated the clear an simple explanation of the 4 E’s in action. Your examples made it easy to understand. Thanks!

  2. The article highlights some excellent points! Intentional formal mentoring in our fellowdhip is a treasure, I believe, we have not yet fully come to exhaust. I would like to see these opportunities optimized further, as well as expanded.

  3. Thank you for the excellent examples of the the 4 Es are applied. You have become an excellent writer.

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