Ephesians 4 calls us to equip, and how we respond to this calling – engaging people, investing in their spiritual maturity, and empowering them to participate in ministry – is very important.

“[The pastors’ and teachers’] responsibility is to equip God's people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ."

Equipping believers is something to which we are all called, but how do we engage and empower people for ministry?

Because somewhere along the way, the perception formed that ‘professional ministers’ do disciple-making and equipping while the rest of the church body watches from the sidelines.

"...it’s not equipping if the effect of the experience ends when the meeting is over..."

So in order to activate members and keep them engaged, churches have to be intentional. They have to actively seek a solution to support their vision to equip their growing congregation with the tools needed to ‘own’ ministry and equip others, too.

But churches successful in turning congregants into disciples know this: Disciples don’t happen by default; they happen by design.

And while there exist countless programs that include ‘discipleship’ in their names, this ultimately causes some people to see equipping as something that takes place in a six-week course offered on Wednesday nights.

But that’s not equipping; that’s just a class.

We get it, though: Church leaders prefer programs because they "...authentic equipping can’t be forced into a strict schedule." have convenient starting and ending points. They fit nicely into the schedule. Childcare is available if the schedules are coordinated. However, authentic equipping can’t be forced into a strict schedule. It is individual and organic, not corporate and structured. It is personal, not universal. One size doesn’t fit all – or even most.

And discipleship is all about equipping God’s people for service so if the intended outcome is anything other than people serving, you don’t actually have an equipping plan.

Think of this way: If your groups meet, eat, and talk about content but don’t become a better spouse, friend, parent, co-worker, or neighbor as a result, then you’re decidedly not equipping.

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It’s not equipping if the effect of the experience ends when the meeting is over. It’s not equipping if there isn’t some motivation to act in some new way as a result of the biblical truth that was discussed. It’s not equipping if there was no subsequent work of service since equipping is all about empowering people to serve God and love others.

Equipping others takes time and investment. It can take months or years, not days or weeks. Equipping is face-to-face, not face-to-screen or -stage. And the pastor isn’t the only person able to equip others. When God’s people are equipped, they all take on the role of disciple-makers.

"The bottom line is this: Real discipleship and real equipping are measured, not manipulated. "

Every person begins their journey with Christ at a unique point. Because people’s backgrounds, upbringing, education, religious experiences, families, biblical knowledge, and needs are unique, their discipleship paths are unique. There is no course that works for everyone. Real equipping requires investment and personal attention.

The bottom line is this: Real discipleship and real equipping are measured, not manipulated.

Ultimately, the goal every church has for visitors Download your free copy of "The Ephesians 4 Church" is to move them from first-time guests to fully engaged members. And with the right process, churches can focus on what matters most – equipping people in order to become what God has called them to be and fulfilling the calling of Ephesians 4.

There's always a next step:

The key to making an impact is investing deeply in the lives of people, equipping them with the tools they need to lead and empowering them to engage in ministry. This is the heart of an Ephesians 4 church. Find out how to effectively equip the saints for the work of the ministry in "The Ephesians 4 Church." Download your copy now!