A peer group mentoring programme for church leaders
The Mathetes Trust is linked to many local churches in the UK and in Africa. These churches have leaders who all share our values. We all want our churches to be:
In line with God’s word, able to hear God correctly and to speak his Word powerfully
Full of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit
Full of wholehearted disciples
Helping more and more people to find faith
These are not four distinct things – rather four ways of saying much the same thing.
In terms of their program, we encourage our linked churches to have three priorities:
1. Main gatherings (probably on Sundays) which are life-changing experiences for all who come
2. Small groups which are growing and multiplying
3. A clear vision to disciple children as well as adults
Other things are important too, but these are the most important. If these three things are going well, then the church will usually flourish. If any one of these is missing, the church will often struggle.
If you are a church leader and you share these values, then we think you would benefit from belonging to one of our EQUIP groups.
EQUIP – what we offer
EQUIP groups meet regionally, with up to ten church leaders in each group. Members of EQUIP commit themselves to three meetings per year. The dates are arranged by consultation, but once they are set the members agree to give the meetings the highest possible priority. The regional leader will additionally commit to visiting each of the members in their own locality at least once between the three main meetings.
The main purpose of both the meetings and the followup visits is to provide teaching, training and encouragement in the areas of ministry listed below. EQUIP groups also function as support groups, where people listen to one another, learn from one another and pray for one another.
We encourage church leaders to become effective teachers of the faith, able to teach the gathered church, able to teach groups, and through determined pastoral work able to teach individuals. The aim of this teaching is to bring each of the church members to maturity in Christ.
We encourage church leaders to be evangelists, both by the way that they live and by sharing the gospel at every opportunity. The aim is to make converts and build the converts into the church community.
We encourage church leaders to be prayerful people who give a lot of time to prayer. They are devoted to worshipping God; they are able to listen to God and hear his word; they are able to pray according to his will, and get answers to their prayers.
We encourage church leaders to have a ministry of healing and deliverance, and through the energy and gifts that the Holy Spirit provides, become increasingly able to do the same things that Jesus did.
Making disciples is the primary purpose of every church. So church leaders are disciple-makers, seeing every person they meet as a potential convert to Christ, every Christian as someone to be brought to maturity in Christ, and every church member as someone who possesses spiritual gifts which can be discerned and used. The four areas of ministry (teaching, evangelism, prayer, healing) are for the whole church, not just the church leader; but it is the responsibility of the leader to see that everyone in the church gets involved and contributes in line with their gifting.
6. The Holy Spirit
None of this ministry is possible without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. So at EQUIP we teach about how to receive the Spirit, how to be filled and refilled by the Spirit, and how to discern and use the gifts of the Spirit. EQUIP group meetings are characterised by prayer, as each member ministers to the others.
Jesus made disciples in a context, and so must every church leader. At EQUIP we help each church leader to define their context and set ministry goals within it.
Courage is essential if we are to be effective leaders, and EQUIP aims to help us develop and maintain this courage. A church leader has to have the courage to persist in preaching the whole counsel of God, knowing that some of what we are called to say is unpalatable. Sometimes progress in our churches is blocked by particular individuals who occupy key roles in an unhelpful way. It takes courage to move them. Sometimes it’s the church program which needs to be changed. Sometimes the problem is the way buildings are used, or the buildings themselves.
Many incumbents and leaders operate as one man or one woman bands. They are often fruitful – but there is a ceiling to how much they can achieve. The biblical perspective is of the local church as a team, with each person contributing to the mission of the church. By authorising some lay people as ministers and not others the Church may seem in practice to be denying this principle. At EQUIP we talk a lot about how to mobilise the entire congregation.
If church leaders are to concentrate on what matters most, they must also learn to delegate other things. The following seven things are an important part of any healthy church, but as far as possible should not occupy the time of the church leader:
Money – raising it and spending it
Social events which help the congregation cohere as a group
Communication of all kinds, including websites and notice sheets
Social action by which the church seeks the welfare of the community
Music to enable the church to offer uplifting worship
Equipment of all kinds from organs to copying equipment and screens
Buildings – maintenance and improvements
11. Use of time
The work of a church leader is complex. There always seems to be too much to do, and it is hard to prioritise. At EQUIP we look at principles of time management.
Roger Morgan was for many years the Head of the Management Studies Department at Cambridge University. He was ordained in 1981 and in 1984 became the vicar of St Columba’s Corby. In 1990 he moved to Leicester, where for the next 18 years he served as the incumbent of Holy Trinity. From 2008 to 2016 Roger was a Missioner with ReSource. Roger was made a Canon of Leicester Cathedral in 2006.
John Benson returned to this country after 20 years in the Diocese of Singapore. During these years he served as Vicar of St George’s Church, Dean of Cambodia, Director of Training, and Vicar of Chapel of the Resurrection. John and Anita live in Chester, where they play an active part in their local church.
“As I concluded my preparations today for preaching tomorrow, I have been particularly conscious of the stimulating teaching and discussions this week and I am very thankful indeed for all that you both shared with us on Thursday, along with the rest of the group. The practical nature of the sessions really helped me to apply some fresh thinking.” Revd Richard Bellamy, Ashford