Today’s distinctive, Equipping the Saints, is an offshoot of another Vineyard Distinctive, Everyone Gets to Play (other distinctives covered in this series have been The Already and the Not Yet, The Main and the Plain, Come, Holy Spirit, A Worshiping Community, Remember the Poor, Naturally Supernatural, and Faith is spelled R-I-S-K).
You may have noticed that at our church we place a high priority on raising up leaders. We offer monthly Holy Spirit Empowerment evenings, where attendees practice hearing from and utilizing the words of the Holy Spirit, we hold regular Prayer Ministry Training, and our home group leaders attend regular training sessions (among other opportunities). In the larger Vineyard movement, Vineyard Institute seeks to equip and develop Christian leaders at every level of every church, within the multinational, multicultural and multigenerational Vineyard community by offering low-cost training opportunities.
We do so because the bible tells us to do so. In Ephesians 4:10 – 16 (NIV) we are told:
10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves,and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
At the Vineyard we hold tight to the idea that to effectively spread the Gospel all members of the church should be used within their God-given giftings and talents. This allows for us to plant churches all over the world, because church leaders and planters are constantly being developed out of the church laity. It also takes some of the burden of church care off of the pastors, as they can look to well trained leaders to aid them in the care of the flock.
In the following video, John Mumford, head of Vineyard UK, speaks about Equipping the Saints.