My philosophy of ministry can be summed up in one word: EQUIP. I’ve based my entire ministry career on this key principle: We, as shepherds and pastors, are not here to do the work of the ministry. As pastors and leaders, we are called to equip others to do the work of the ministry – thus allowing them to use their God-given spiritual gifts and find pure joy, satisfaction and peace in serving. All to often leaders rob their people of blessing by doing something solo and not allowing the people they lead to use their gifts.

As EACH ONE has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. – 1 Peter 4:10 (NKJV)

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. – 1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)

The above passage was given to the Church (people), not just pastors. This theme of using our gifts and as leaders, encouraging others to use their gifts has been a recurring theme on my blog for years. I was changed forever 11 years ago, when I heard Ray Johnston (Senior Pastor of Bayside Church in Sacrament0) speak at a conference on the Body of Christ. He burned a crystal clear image into my brain and heart of what a healthy church looks like – each person using their individual gifts to benefit and complete the whole organization.

When I’m in the interview process with a potential church that I’m considering, this is something I say up front: “I’m an equipper, not a doer.” When I’m hiring a potential staff or team member, this is something I look for and anyone that’s worked for me can vouch for that. I know that when churches get to a super size, there can be the occasional “specialist” – someone hired to DO something because of their unique skill and giftedness (like a designer or a video editor) – but even then, I expect them to duplicate themselves and grow their ministry area.

When I was a tech pastor, I didn’t just hire a Front of House Sound Engineer, I purposely hired an Audio Coordinator. I made it clear to him that though he was gifted at sound and would be running FOH on most weekends, I expected him to grow the audio team by recruiting, training and empowering other sound engineers to be used at FOH, monitor world and in other venues throughout the campus (children, youth and special events such as weddings, funerals, concerts, etc.).

In the world of video, I always utilized volunteer video editors for various ministry projects, even when I had a paid video editor. I expect all my staff to grow their given areas of responsibility. I’m passionate about this ministry concept and principle based out of Ephesians 4.

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherdst and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ… – Ephesians 4:11-12 (ESV)

At the last church I served (Bent Tree in Dallas), I developed a Technical Arts Ministry Leadership Team (which I blogged about in the past) that was made up of a mix of volunteers and paid staff. This leadership team ran the Technical Arts Ministry. I gave away the ministry to them and worked myself out of  a job. They still run the ministry to this day.

At each meeting, I would preach to them that the Technical Arts Ministry could not and would not be “Greg-centric.” I expressed my vision for each of them taking ownership of the ministry (which I’ve blogged about before) and told them that they were the reason that the ministry was being blessed, growing and healthy.

To me, this is Church Leadership 101 and something that growing, gifted and effective leaders grasp. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about why not all leaders grasp this and why a “doer” is  a “doer.” So, I’ll ask you – Are you an equipper or a doer?

Greg Atkinson

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