Sometimes, as leaders, we think our major role is to run strong programs and build effective ministries and God may use many of you to grow programs and ministries. But, this is not your main role. As a leader, your main role is to develop others. When someone follows you, they should be growing in a heart for God and skills in ministry. This will partly come from your example, but it will also come as you invest time into those following you.

This quality of pastoral leadership is relatively clear-cut because it comes straight from Paul’s teaching on the role of church leaders in Ephesians 4:11-13. Leaders are called to prepare God’s people for ministry. The content of this equipping includes understanding God and his Word, growing like Christ, and developing ministry skills. When practical problems arose in the early church, the apostles chose not to swerve away from their equipping/teaching ministry (Acts 6:1-4) to manage the pressing issues. Let me say it again. Christian leadership is not principally about building ministries and programs, but about developing spiritually-mature people who can serve others.

Effective equipping is not limited to leading Bible studies and discipling people personally. It often occurs in the middle of ministry and life (as we pursue God’s vision together) when leaders focus on people development rather than programs. We teach, confront, inspire, challenge, encourage, and hold accountable, so that together we grow in Christ. One essential equipping role of leaders (arguably the most important) is the raising up of other leaders (2 Timothy 2:2). Christian leaders are always seeking potential leaders who they can call and equip.

One question I often ask leaders is this: “What are you doing in ministry alone that you could be doing with someone else?” Don’t waste your opportunities to equip.

Here’s a brief checklist to see how you’re going as an “equipping” leader.

Please rate each statement on the following scale:
5 – Strongly Agree; 4 – Agree; 3 – Neither Agree nor Disagree; 2 – Disagree; 1 – Strongly Disagree
The TOTAL gives a score out of 25. A score over 20 indicates health.
1. I spend more time working with people than working by myself.
2. The people I minister with are growing spiritually.
3. I am actively seeking to raise up the next generation of leaders.
4. I take time to personally input into the lives of other leaders.
5. I give regular feedback to team members and receive feedback from them.

John Sweetman