The Leader as Catalyst - Part 11 (Enrich)
Enrich: Equip people to prepare them to join with Him in what He is doing.
Through employing the roles of Envisioner ("See the Way") and Expositor ("Interpret the Way"), you have painted the picture of the Kingdom future which God intends. You have begun to impart hope through vision and foster the resilience required for the journey. Through the role of the Implementer ("Define the Way"), you have laid out the path of the way of life, which will lead people into God's future. As part of that pathway, you have created "on-ramps," the means of accessing the path, and have encouraged them to join in. You have enlightened and encouraged those journeying with you in Christ. Now it is time to enrich those following you in Christ.
To engage with Christ in His way of life actively and successfully, people must be intentionally equipped to do so. It doesn't happen by accident – disciples are deliberately made. This is implicit in the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19a –
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,"
The phrase "make disciples of" is an active verb form and is an imperative directive Jesus gives to His disciples. It implies activity, energy applied to a task. It is not passive, nor is it something approached casually. The catalytic leader must have a well-thought-out process of enriching those within their discipleship influence. The intentionality of all of this is paramount. Paul desire for such focused intent was evident in his directive to Timothy, his son in the faith:
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything (2 Timothy 2:1-7).
The task is made clear – intentionally focus on and develop those within whom you see the Spirit's ability to multiply themselves in others. Generations of the faithful would come through such purposeful action. Paul encourages Timothy to stay focused and not get drawn away into things that would interrupt or diminish the generational transmission of the faith to new disciples. The truth is that we are far too often pulled away from the primary thing we should be doing – making disciples. Instead, we become entangled in everyday life and those unnecessary things of "ministry," which sap our strength, distract us, and lead us away from the core responsibility we have been given. As he did with Timothy, Paul tells Titus to stay focused as well –
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you — if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it (Titus 1:5-9).
These leaders were essential for the multiplication of disciples. The Kingdom community in Crete was disordered by the lack of catalytic leaders who could properly instruct others in the Jesus way. Titus, therefore, had to get the discipleship ball rolling by training those who could do the work of disciple-maker.
In the same fashion, if we want to see the Lord's Kingdom order emerge in our churches, we must embrace the biblical mandate to train others in the Jesus way. As we call them forward to the vision of the Kingdom way of Jesus, there is no other way for people to embrace the personal and communal change required to align with His way. The two elements of the catalytic come into play in this aspect of leading change: Progenitor ("Give the Way") and Equipper ("Prepare those on the Way"). Through the role of Envisioner, you cast the vision for God's preferred Kingdom future. As the Encourager, you have invited people to join you and the Lord in that vision. Also, by the function of the Implementer, you have made the way known and accessible so that others may genuinely join in His way. Next, as a Progenitor, a spiritual parent, you bring others into the discipleship process even as Paul described to Timothy and Titus. And as those people begin to engage with Jesus and His Kingdom way of life, they must be equipped for effective participation in His way. To successfully navigate the change the Kingdom is demanding, people must be prepared to respond to it out of obedience to Christ and His call for your church community. Even as they are newly birthed into the Jesus way (ref. John 3:3), they must be intentionally and accurately prepared to walk in His way:
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus (1Thessalonians 4:1-2).
Completed and Competent
Perhaps the most definitive passage in the Epistles about the development of God's people for engaging in His purposes is found in Ephesians 4: 11-16, where the Apostle Paul indicates the purpose of the catalytic leadership found in Christ's Church:
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
The various functions are designed to "equip" God's people, leading to their being prepared for "service." That service "builds up" the Body. Let's look at a few of these words. The word for "equip" in ancient Greek is katartismos, to fully furnish, provide what is lacking, bring to completeness, and make someone entirely adequate for something. The implication is a wholeness that leads to being prepared. This desired wholeness leads people to be in a place where they can embrace and engage in the works of service that are normative to the Jesus way. Loving and serving others in the humility of Christ is a core reality of the Jesus way of life. For disciples to thrive in Kingdom life, they must become whole in and through him. This is the true meaning of "to equip" in this passage, far beyond the training in ministry tasks or roles. It is holistic formation, providing that which is lacking in order to bring someone to maturity in Christ. It is the development of the whole person. It includes the personal skills of spiritual disciplines that are needed to help someone build their relationship with the Lord. Relational skills are necessary to empower them for healthy, godly relationships with others. Ministerial skills and training in spiritual gifts are required for fruitful engagement in the Kingdom mission.
When individuals are so equipped, the Body is provided with all it needs to grow numerically and mature spiritually in Christ. Such maturity is an outcome of intentional discipleship, the focused equipping facilitated by you as a catalytic leader. This is an essential part of leading people through the change required to inherit the preferred Kingdom future the Lord intends for His people in the church you serve.
Creating Pathways which Equip
This leads us to our reflection assignment for this week:
· Who do you need to be focused on enriching?
· What current leaders can be equipped to disciple others?
· What pathways already exist to enrich/equip people for the Kingdom life and mission?
· What pathways need to be created?