John Ewart on EQUIP equipping Pastors

I have the privilege of partnering with local churches and local church leaders around the world through the Spurgeon Center and our EQUIP Network. EQUIP is a strategy to wed the seminary to local church ministries. There is nothing I consider more important than the opportunity to serve them. Jesus has given the mission of God to the church. That mission is to make disciples of all nations. The fulfillment of this mission includes equipping leaders and sending them out to engage in frontier missions, to strengthen churches, and to plant new churches.

The Apostle Paul writes of this challenge to Timothy, “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” (2 Tim 2:1-2).

Timothy was to be strengthened through the grace that is only available to those who are in Christ and the teaching he had received from Paul. He then instructs Timothy to take his teachings and entrust them to others. Though these teachings were shared openly in the presence of many and everyone would benefit from hearing them, Timothy also needed to find specific men to which to entrust them in order to make certain they would be preserved and shared to future generations in the proper way. These men had to meet two requirements. First, they had to be faithful. Second, they had to be able to teach others.

Church leaders today must continue this pattern. We certainly must share the teachings of Scripture openly and faithfully from our pulpits, in our small groups and in our daily conversations to all who will listen. But we should also seek out specific men to whom we can entrust this message.

To shepherd these men, we must model for them and teach to them what it means to remain faithful and to walk with God in His strengthening grace. To help them teach others we must equip them with the proper skills and provide them opportunity. This type of equipping requires time and intentionality.

As Pastor Nathan Akin challenges, “The question for pastors has to be, who are your II Timothy 2:2 men? We have a variety of ways to measure ‘success’ in the church today. Too often they revolve around our statistics. If the Apostle Paul were giving standards of success it seems certain that one of them would be how many men are you raising up as leaders who will in turn do the same?”

Dr. Tony Merida also asks, “Have you ever considered the fact that perhaps the greatest thing you might do with your life is to pour into a future leader?” He adds, “Every pastor should not just have a ‘to-do’ list but also a ‘to-be’ list of potential leaders to mentor.”

EQUIP partners with local churches to help those leaders who seek to develop this type of ministry as well as to walk alongside those who already engage in it.  We can show you examples of equipping ministries and processes and help you develop the intentionality you seek in equipping other faithful leaders. In addition, there are several ways those who are being trained can earn fully accredited academic credit while engaging in this shepherding ministry with you. Please contact us today at www.sebts.edu/equip so we can determine how we might best serve you.

CGCS: The Hard Truth about Salt Lake City

Recently, a group of Southeasterners traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah for a mission trip among the majority Mormon population. Southeastern student and E-Marketing Specialist, Sam Morris wrote about their experience. He offers some insight on the hard truth about Salt Lake City and ways we can pray for them, and especially the evangelicals working among them.

Salt Lake City is the most unreached city in America with 98% of its inhabitants living without the understanding that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully man. He is Lord and Savior. Let’s break that number down just a bit: 70% of the population would consider themselves Mormon while another 28% have no religious affiliation. With more than 2.6 million people, there is one Southern Baptist church for every 43,000 people.

And that’s in the middle of America.

Read the full post and learn how to pray for Salt Lake City here.

Something’s Missing

Unless you’ve been in a coma for the last twenty years, you know who John Mayer is. He displays an enormous musical talent, and evidently possesses an ego to match. Think of him what you will, one would be hard pressed to find a better song writer alive today. Some of his lyrics reveal insights that go beyond pop pablum. I’m thinking particularly of a song from his album, Heavier Things, entitled “Something’s Missing.” Heavier things

I’m dizzy from the shopping mall
I searched for joy but I bought it all
It doesn’t help the hunger pains
And a thirst I’d have to drown first to ever satiate

In “Something’s Missing” Mayer echoes the themes from the Book of Ecclesiastes. Like Solomon, Mayer has indulged in everything this world has to offer. Wealth, applause, lovers–he admits that has experienced them all. At one point in the song he checks off all the things he has:

Friends? “check”
Money? “check”
Well-slept? “check”
Opposite sex? “check”

And yet, he laments, he feels empty inside. Something’s missing. The chorus repeats a sad refrain:

Something’s missing and I don’t know how to fix it
Something’s missing and I don’t know what it is
No, I don’t know what it is at all

Mayer ends the song with a mystified query:

How come everything I think I need
Always comes with batteries?
What do you think it means?

Augustine tells us what John is missing. In his Confessions, Augustine says to God, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.”

This blog is cross-posted at www.theologyforthechurch.com