11 And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head—Christ (Eph. 4:11-15 CSB).
This is what we consider to be the animating Bible passage for the Equip seminars, and if we are to break it down, you’ll see why we think the Equip seminars are so valuable for Mercy Hill.
First of all, verses 11-12 make it so that, if the church has been gifted with these roles (specifically pastors and teachers, for our purposes), then to not be equipping our members would be directly disobedient to Jesus and wasting the gifts he provided us.
If we look at verses 12-13, then we should be able to see clearly the purpose of all equipping. The Equip seminars should:
1) help the members of Mercy Hill be ready to do the work of ministry, whether that be in a formal ministry capacity at a church or daily mission capacity of sharing your faith at work, at school; in discipling your kids; teaching a younger believer in the faith; or serving the needy in your community.
2) build up and strengthen the body of the church, as we head towards being completely unified in the faith and the knowledge of God’s son. This is very important. New Testament scholar N.T. Wright has said that the two biggest emphases in Paul’s letters are the unity of the church and the holiness of the church. We can see the emphasis on unity in 1 Corinthians 1:10: “Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction” (CSB) This is extremely important for the health and witness of the church. Therefore, these classes are designed to help us all get on the same page in our thinking.
3) lead towards Christian maturity and holiness as the church becomes more like Christ.
We live in a time of rationality, argumentation, secularism, and hostility to religion. The world is perhaps better equipped to deceive the church through its cleverness and cunning than ever before in the way that verse 14 talks about. These lies not only exist out in the world, but have made their way into the church. The result of the Equip seminars should be that our defenses are shored up so that we might stand firmly on Biblical truth and not blown away by the storms of deceit that push against us. And also, to be able to point out this deception that exists within our midst.
Our Hope of Striving
We hope that our Equip seminars will be a place where you are taught out of love (v. 15). We desperately want that Mercy Hill and all of its members will be continually built up, strengthened, unified, and holy as we become more attached to Christ, the head of the church. Because of our love for you, we are hoping that you will take one of our Equip seminars this Spring in order that you will be more prepared to be both active in your faith and have strong defenses for your faith.
We have some great classes for you to choose from. There is Faith & Work, Decision Making and the Will of God, God’s Global Mission, and Marriage & Family. Every single one of these topics are important and we pray that you will join us in learning together for the sake of Christ, love, and unity.
These classes are hosted each Monday from March 27th – April 17th from 6:30 – 8:30 at our Regional Rd. Campus. You can sign up here: http://www.mercyhillgso.com/equip
-Alex Nolette (Equip Associate)