The Equipper Newsletter
January 3, 2008
Churches Equipping Saints for Service

The Acts of the Non-Apostles
by Karen Kogler
Acts of the Non-Apostles is a new 6-session Bible study on the book of Acts, available for free download on In its first use, one student quit after several sessions. He apologized to the leader for doing so, but said he felt compelled to "be the church" by teaching Sunday school during the same time period.

Written by Nancy Kuhlman, a Bible study writer/leader at Christ Lutheran, Costa Mesa, California, this study resulted from God bringing Nancy and I together originally when I was a member at Christ, and again last summer when she and her husband Jim offered their hospitality while I took a week-long theology class at Concordia University, Irvine. Our conversations led her to read a paper I had written for a previous class. Nancy, who has experience in leading volunteers (see "Lessons of a Book Bee"), describes how God led her to write Bible studies, including this one on Acts:

"About thirty-five years ago I was involved in and blessed by an in-depth Bible study. It was an experience I desired to share with others. At the time, most of the published Bible study guides I looked at did not seem to have the personal application emphasis that had been so meaningful to me, so I started writing my own questions to bring in that aspect. The Lord encouraged me to continue developing Bible studies through the favorable response of people who used the lessons I had written.

"The title of your paper, Karen, "The Acts of the Non-Apostles," peaked my curiosity. When I read it, I was so profoundly impacted by some of the concepts in it that, like my response to my first in-depth Bible study experience, I wanted to share this with my ChristCare group. I wrote the study with that kind of small-group format in mind.

"When our pastor heard about the study, he asked me to lead it as part of the Sunday morning Bible class program. Then he asked that it be repeated a second time. Many of the people who participated caught the excitement I had found and recognized themselves as non-Apostles today. They responded with a deeper awareness of their role as part of the Church and the corporate responsibility we have of sharing the Gospel in our world today."
Handouts for participants and the leader for all six sessions of "The Acts of the Non-Apostles" available here.
On the web: Five Competencies
Here's a useful freebie, "Five Critical Competencies for Global Leaders and Managers," that is more accessible and useful than its title might lead you to believe. John Stanko included both his notes and PointPoint slides for this presentation at the end his blog posting, "Kingdom Bank." In his blog and his business, Stanko focuses on purpose and servant leadership both in the business and church worlds.  

These materials would create interesting conversations if shared in staff or board meetings. How competent are our churches in these areas? My comments are in brackets.
  1. You must lead and manage yourself. [Do we encourage healthy stewardship of self?]
  2. Distinguish between leadership (vision) and management. [Stanko defines management as capitalizing on the unique strengths of individuals. Is this how we define it?]
  3. Develop an attitude of partnership, not ownership. [Do we partner with our volunteers, or direct them?]
  4. Promote spirituality in the workplace. [In the church, do we so focus our spirituality in worship and Bible study that we neglect it in our volunteer ministries?]
  5. Utilize coaches and mentors. [What impact could coaching have in congregations?]
Stanko's resources are included at the end of the "Kingdom Bank" posting on his blog.
Gifts from a Manager
Elsewhere on the web, another article supporting the second competency, above, is "The Best Gift a Manager can Give an Employee." In the article, author Patrick Lencioni ("Five Dysfunctions of a Team") describes three intriguing 'gifts' that are equally valuable to church volunteers. These gifts can be given by church staff, by ministry coordinators, and even by fellow workers in any ministry.
  1. Get to know your people better than you know them today.
  2. Talk to them about how their job matters to others.
  3. Help them gauge how effectively they are doing their job, and how their job impacts others.
All three focus on relationships, a perfect fit for the church, where we are centered on our relationship with Jesus Christ, our relationship with fellow believers, and our mission to invite others into a relationship with their Savior. 
Volunteers and Disaster  
The words 'volunteers' and 'disaster' probably conjure up images of what happens when people work outside their giftedness. But current events link the terms in a different way. 
  • In October, I blogged on how the southern California wildfires prompted me to consider how churches respond to local disasters. 
  • Recent shootings in Colorado probably had us all thinking preparedness thoughts. From what disasters can we, and/or should we, try to protect our people?
  • Susan Ellis, of Energize, Inc. in "Helper Triage: Volunteer Management in Emergencies," comments on how volunteers could have been better mobilized after November's oil spill in San Francisco Bay.
These current events provide good reasons to consider disaster preparedness. Note that the first and last ones are ways a church can profoundly impact its community, serving people when there is massive-and unexpected--need.
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The Equipper newsletter is published monthly by Karen Kogler. More info. -- Churches Equipping Saints for Service --