Many born-again, Spirit-filled, Word-trained believers are equipped but not participating in the kingdom.
The labor force participation rate, for those with a bachelor's degree or higher, has been trending downward for the last 20 years.
These educated people are neither working nor unemployed. Some have simply dropped out of the labor force, while others have never entered. The are not employed and do not seek employment due to a lack of motivation, discouragement or retirement. They are equipped but not participating in the labor force.
Educated, skilled and experienced workers are a valuable resource for the economy. Their contributions create more output and a higher standard of living for society. Their training and development was expensive. The loss of their labors harms the economy.
As I said before, many born-again, Spirit-filled, Word-trained believers are equipped but not participating in the kingdom. Maybe they have been offended or feel their contributions are unimportant or unneeded. Possibly, they have never been asked to serve.
Perhaps, like Moses, they feel unqualified. Or maybe, like Gideon, they need someone to call them a valiant warrior. They may be in need of deliverance, healing or restoration from sin. Regardless of the reason, efforts must be made to bring these equipped believers into full kingdom participation and service.
Others have secular skills which are very useful in the church, outreaches, evangelistic and development efforts. Accountants, bankers, carpenters, computer specialists, counselors, dentists, doctors, educators, entrepreneurs, mechanics, nurses, plumbers and secretaries are some of the skills needed. Kingdom participation can be increased significantly among the professions by simply asking for their help.
Our responsibility as ministers is to equip the saints where they are lacking and put them into service. We are promised greater unity, knowledge of Jesus, maturity and becoming more like Christ.
"for the equipping of the saints, for the work of service, and for the building up of the body of Christ, until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, into a complete man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:12-13).
We should be led by the Spirit, wise counsel and wisdom. But ministers should consider the following to increase church participation for the equipped:
- Complete a church needs assessment for the next three months, one year and five years.
- Indicate priorities by important and urgent, important but not urgent, and good.
- Survey all congregants to determine skills/competencies and interests.
- Identify the intersection of needs, skills/competencies, and interests.
- Confirm any calling choices in prayer.
- Extend the call to new assignments with personal contact.
- Monitor and express thanks to all involved in the work of the kingdom.
As ministers, we are responsible for equipping all saints. But, increasing kingdom participation among the equipped is a way to increase church growth, expansion, and effectiveness rapidly.
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics and undergraduate chair of the College of Business at Oral Roberts University.
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