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EQUIP: In-Church Preparation ‘For Such a Time as This’

May 21, 2024 | Dr. Derry Long

The gospel and the Christian’s witness to a God of mercy and grace are always appropriate. However, there are seasons when the contrast between the light and life of the Gospel and the chaos and fragmentation of the world magnifies the virtues of the ways of Christ.

We are living in such a time. Rather than handwringing, because of the contrast, this is a great opportunity for the alternative vision of the Kingdom of God in the midst of the divisive and combative present age to be seen in all of its power and peace.

Christians are invited to engage the world with the purposes and claims of Christ. As with Esther in ancient time, to respond to God’s call for “such a time as this.”

Here is the thing: such an engagement requires preparedness. We must be ready to give an answer for the faith that is within us. It is for this time that EQUIP was designed.

Eight Areas of Preparedness

EQUIP is an eight course teaching series that articulates eight areas of preparedness for staff and congregations who want to be ready to be “salt and light” to this broken world. The goal is simple, “to equip his people for works of service … so the body of Christ can be built up” (Ephesians 4:11-12).

One statistic reflects the need. A survey of Christian millennials revealed that 94% considered their faith in Christ the most important reality of their lives. Yet, astoundingly, 47% felt it was wrong to share their faith with the goal of helping someone of a different faith put their trust in Jesus (Barna Report).

EQUIP can be a tool for the pastor and leadership of the local church to prepare their people to stand in confidence in this present chaos, to have an answer to the confusion of the day, to be “salt and light” in the midst of the distress, and to live out their aspirations for meaning and significance in answering the call of God.

The eight courses are taught at the local church in nine-hour sessions at a pace chosen by the local church leadership. The content covers the inspiration and study of the Bible, the Old and New Testaments, the theology of the church, leadership skills, developing a Christian worldview, and how to teach and provide spiritual care for others.

This is our opportunity to declare to our generation the greatness of God and the work of Christ, to stand as “salt and light” to a hurting world.

Confidence in the Storm

In the 1700’s John Wesley was headed from England to Georgia, in the colonies. During the voyage the ship encountered a violent storm and those on board felt panic. But Wesley noticed that a group of Christians from Germany called Moravians seemed calm and confident. He never forgot that experience. After returning to England, it was in a Moravian church service, as Luther’s preface to the book of Romans was being read, that Wesley felt his own heart “strangely warmed,” and he knew that he had become a Christian. The confident faith he had seen in the Moravians was now his.

The goal of the EQUIP program is to help the local church equip Christians to stand in the midst of our storm, with the confidence that Wesley saw, and let people be attracted to the life Christ is creating in us, to his glory.

Dr. Derry Long

Professor of Christian Leadership

Dr. Derry Long has served in ministry for over 45 years in many roles – pastor, church planter, pastoral coach, regional overseer, and […]

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