Susan, a colleague from 10+ years ago, emailed me earlier this year and noted, “I see your website hasn’t been updated in a while. I hope all is well with you.”
All is well with me, Susan, but you’re right. My website — and my church-at-large Equipper activities as a whole — have been minimal in recent years. Some of it was due to the increasing care needed by my mother-in-law, who lived with us. But God called her to her eternal victory late in 2019. I was eager to return to all things Equipper. But nothing happened as I expected.
Covid was part of it. My job changed when the majority of our volunteers were sidelined. As all on our leadership team worked through the “now what?” questions, one thing became clear. Having been through training in creating a discipleship culture in the prior couple years, in early summer 2020 we decided to launch discipleship community groups and build the plane as we’re flying it.
The loss of ‘normal’ church volunteerism and the launch into discipleship culture pointed me to a truth I had always believed, always advocated but never seriously addressed: church volunteering is only a slice, and a small slice at that, of serving God. Serving God is something all of us are called to do all the time, in everything we do, 24/7/365.
Everything on The Equipper website was about helping people serve in their churches. Now people were confined to their homes and neighborhoods. Are we helping them serve there? Discipleship, following the words and ways of Jesus, obviously includes serving the people around us in everyday life. That brought me again to the same question — how do we help people serve those around them?
To help people do something is more than simply telling them to do it. We need to figure out what doing it ‘well’ looks like. We need to learn to do it ourselves, so we can model it. And we need to figure out what encourages and helps others do it well, too.
This is what I’ve been wrestling with in 2020 and 2021. This is where God has been messing with me. This is where I’m experimenting at my church. More and more, I’m becoming convinced that this is the time for followers of Jesus to help fellow followers of Jesus grow in our serving in everyday life. People notice selfless service. Serving others builds relationships and trust. It opens the doors to faith conversations. And our broken, hurting, violent, divided world needs our service more than ever.
The purpose of The Equipper is unchanged. The goal is still to help people serve Jesus. But the scope is expanding to include serving in everyday life alongside serving in the church.
I invite you to join me on this journey. This is new territory. We need to figure it out together. Share your thoughts, resources and experiences in the comments below.