We write every so often about Rooted in Jesus, so we thought it was time for an update on our EQUIP programme. EQUIP aims to support church leaders, who are invited to join one of our regional groups which meet 3 times a year for a one day seminar.
After each session the group leader, either Roger Morgan or John Benson, follows up each participant on a one to one basis, usually paying them a visit at their homes and sometimes making a contribution to the church at the same time. What we do in these personal visits varies from person to person, and quite often people have problems to share with us. The morale of church leaders is very important but can be hard to maintain. It is a privilege to support so many people at the coal-face of local ministry.
This year EQUIP has expanded on a number of fronts:
Membership is open to any church leader within easy reach of one of our regional hubs. The composition and location of the groups inevitably changes as people take up new appointments, but this year we have been able to welcome a number of new members. There are now 5 regional hubs, meeting in Kent, Leicestershire, Berkshire, North Wales and Somerset. The Somerset group launched this year and we meet in Bridgwater. 50 church leaders are now involved, up from 40 last year. The groups are cross-denominational, and it is a joy to have Anglican, Baptist and Methodist leaders meeting together to consider the challenges of ministry and to support one another in prayer.
EQUIP is founded on a simple question: “What do church leaders need to be able to do if they are to lead their churches into a deeper experience of God and also into numerical growth?”. Each of our seminars takes a single topic which will help ministers to grow both in their personal walk with the Lord and in their role as church leaders; each participant is given a booklet setting out the main principles and offering suggestions for good practice. Often it turns out that someone has a great deal of experience to share on a particular topic, and when this is so we invite them to take the lead.
So far this year the topics the various groups have covered are: Breathing life into Sundays, Managing time, Prayer Ministry, Revive us Again and Transforming Preaching.
Growth never happens in a vacuum so, keen as we are to help church leaders, we are also looking for practical ways to serve their churches. We love helping churches to plan and run local missions, and of course we are always willing to help lead training courses and to preach. Our most recent initiative is to put together a series of 5 seminars for church members, covering the following topics:
1. The Holy Spirit – the source of life and power
2. Developing a strong prayer life – both individual and corporate
3. Prayer ministry – praying for others
4. Evangelism – ministry to the community
5. Becoming messengers – ministry of the word
We are currently piloting this course in Durrington, Wiltshire, and we are extremely encouraged by the response. The Saturday morning sessions have been attended by up to 26 church members, some of whom have had no direct experience of ministering to others; many say that they have been going much deeper with God than they’ve been able to do before. The Lord seems very willing to pitch in; it’s all about having the confidence to let him!
If you would like to order a copy of one of our EQUIP booklets please let Jessica know – some of the topics are listed below. If you are interested in finding out more about EQUIP, either through joining an existing group or helping to start a new one in your area, please contact us. And if you are an experienced church leader who would like to help us expand our reach please do get in touch!
The following EQUIP booklets can be ordered from the office at a nominal price of £2.50 including postage:
All Age Worship Breathing Life into Sundays Courage Delivering the Word of God Developing New Leaders Encouragement Healing Managing Time Management of Change Making Disciples Prayer Ministry Prayer Meetings and How to Lead Them Small Groups The Work of an Evangelist Transforming Preaching