EQUIP: Nathan Akin on the Apostle Paul and Search Committees

What if the Apostle Paul were on a Search Committee?

Have you ever wondered if the Apostle Paul were on a search committee what kind of questions he would ask the pastoral candidate? I wonder if they would be like the questions most search committees ask today?

Questions such as:

  • What is the attendance at your current church?
  • What is the membership at your current church?
  • How many did you baptize this year?
  • What is the budget?
  • What degrees do you have?
  • Are you a Calvinist?
  • Are you pre-tribulational in your eschatology?

I think even the process of most pastoral search committee’s can be debated, but I think it is worth considering what the man who kept Timothy in Ephesus for the work of shepherding that flock and sent Titus to Crete would ask a potential pastoral candidate. It is possible that many search committees and churches place too high a focus on aspects of ministry that the apostle would not, “budgets and butts in the seats” as some would say. Now, Paul did give his young protégé one clear exhortation when it came to pastoral ministry. He wrote him in 2 Timothy 2:1-2, “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.” Is it possible that a primary question the apostle would ask would be, “how do you plan on multiplying yourself?” I think we have more evidence in the scriptures that he would ask that question as well as questions about how you will guard the good deposit as we do about “budgets and butts in the seats.”

I believe churches need to value more highly the importance of the pastor reproducing himself. And I believe pastors need to consider how they will intentionally take on 2 Timothy 2:2 in their church and how they will intentionally build it into their schedule so that it does not get eclipsed by other things.

At Southeastern Seminary we have developed a program called EQUIP that will help pastors develop such a ministry in their churches and give Seminary-level credit for work done through that ministry. We would love to serve pastors and churches as they consider developing a 2 Timothy 2:2 ministry in their church and we would love to come alongside those that already have a ministry like this and see how we can partner to give theological credit. If you are interested in finding out more please contact us – Equip@sebts.eduonline games for boys

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.mobile rpg online games

John Ewart on Partnership in the Gospel

As I write this, I am sitting in India waiting to meet with potential partners who are passionate about discipleship and leadership development. I have the privilege of doing this quite often as part of Southeastern’s Global Theological Initiative (GTI). We are engaging in strategic partnerships all around the world to train trainers. We have a similar partnership missiology for the North American church which we implement through the Spurgeon Center. The EQUIP Network is the field based arm of the center and has partnered with hundreds of churches across America. The church and the seminary working together in a way that brings Him glory and makes disciples. It is a worthy endeavor.

Partnership. It’s a good word. Intentionally serving alongside one another, sharing in a synergistic cooperation that makes the two stronger together than they were apart. A two-way relationship that pulls together purpose and process to produce something greater than the partners could ever do separately. Both partners bless and are blessed. They share mutual benefits. Together they accomplish more.

I have been reflecting lately on the various partnerships I have had and currently have in my life and how formative and vital they have been. My greatest earthly partner, my wife Tresa, makes ministry a joy. Then there are other family members, friends, staff, colleagues, teachers and mentors…the list goes on and on. The idea that we are not alone, that we struggle and succeed together is comforting and motivating. The fact that we are partners in the gospel tells me I have the responsibility to bless others and the privilege of being blessed by others.

What partnerships exist in your life? Who are your partners? With whom are you intentionally seeking to serve alongside in synergistic cooperation? Who are you blessing and who is blessing you?

I challenge you to reflect upon your past and present partnerships. Celebrate those that assist you in being a greater Kingdom servant. Take time to acknowledge and appreciate these healthy, godly partners. Intentionally seek out partnerships that draw you closer to Him and drive you farther out into His mission.

Acknowledge, learn lessons, and move on from those that have not been so healthy. We can be thankful for learning that comes from bad influence and failure but we have no business abiding in it. Establish healthy partnerships.

I began thinking about this last Saturday morning. I had the privilege of helping lead our annual EQUIP breakfast. Dr. Danny Akin and Pastor Alistair Begg shared about equipping leaders in the context of the local church. We shared about church and academy coming together. I thought how wonderful it was that pastors and professors could partner together to help that happen. We will continue to seek the best ways to facilitate that.

It is now time for my meeting here in India. It is with the leadership from a great local church and another denominational entity. I pray we find a way to work together to equip people to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission, I pray we can be partners.