Monday, November 4, 2019

Equip: Encourage, Enlighten, and Empower

"To equip the saints for the work of the ministry."  Ephesians 4:12

This is one of the foundational scriptures for DML.  We seek to equip the local church so that they can equip the saints who are in the Marketplace, to be the church every day of the week.

To do this, we have teams in the nine countries where we work, who are equipping pastors, church leaders, denominational leaders, as well as micro, small and medium-size businesspeople.

We believe that there are a number of things that constitute equipping:  encouraging, enlightening, and empowering.

So this week, we have called for our West African Teams to come together in Abuja, Nigeria for a period of equipping.

While I was writing this blog about equipping, Dr. Gaga arrived at the conference center and greeted me.  We sat down to talk and he began to share about how God has shown him something new about what it means to be equipping and what it means to be equipped.  With great excitement, he shared that some are called to be equipping the saints.  For example, Matthew was a tax collector, and he was called away from his work to equip the saints.  But Zacchaeus was also a tax collector and Jesus equipped him to do his work the right way.   Zacchaeus didn't stop being a tax collector - but he was equipped to do it with justice, integrity, and with Jesus as His Savior.  God cares about both - those who are equipping and those who are equipped.  For too long, he said, the church has been focused only on those who are equipping and neglecting the work of the equipped.

I love it!  Our heart's desire is for people to own this message and continue to seek God as He reveals Himself to each of us in His own way!  Dr. Gaga is on fire for this ministry and is being very creative in how it is done in his own context!

===Now back to the blog I was writing====

Would you please join us in prayer for this week, praying for each of them, as well as for the team together, during this time?  Assuming some of you will say yes, I will give you their names:
  • We have two teams from Cameroon:  two from our partnership with DAI Cameroon:  Joy and Pastor Williams; and two from ALAACS, a microfinance bank in Cameroon:  Maxcelline and Delphine.
  • We have one team from Ghana (the other team was not able to make it):  Pastor Derek and Kwame.
  • We have one team from Burkina Faso:  Rev. Dr. Phillippe and Theophile.
  • We have one person from our Liberia/Sierra Leone team:  Rev. Tage
  • We have eight people from our Nigeria team:  Dr. Gaga, Freeman, Ibrahim, Rev. Nevan, Rev. Raheem, Dr. Bode, Solomon, and Mrs. Bose.
  • In addition, we have Paul Soper who has joined Dr. Walker and me for the US team.

This brings us to a total of 21 people for the week from six different countries.  All come with their own personal challenges as well as challenges in their nations.  All come with their preconceived notions for what this week will bring.  

Our desire is to be present to the Holy Spirit during this time and have the right balance between empowering, encouraging, and enlightening.  My personal tendency is to focus more on the enlightening (improving the method of how to deliver this ministry as well as making sure we are all on the same page regarding the message), and I tend to fall short on the encouragement part.

Please pray for wisdom for us as we go through this week, that we may have a good balance of prayer time, sharing, learning, and growing.  We believe that God is opening doors of opportunity for the Church in Africa to receive this message through a number of different denominations and these leaders are strategically placed to help facilitate that.

Last year, we met together as a DML team for the first time in Ghana.  At that time we were able to bring together eighteen members of our team from West and East Africa.  This year, we decided to do two regional meetings, one in East Africa and one in West Africa.  Thanks to many of you and your generous support, we were able to bring together 43 team members, from ten different partnerships, and additionally denominational leaders from four major denominations.  We are so thankful to God for your financial support and your prayer support!
Our regional meeting team from 2018.  We gave all team members a bottle with a water filter (which they are holding on their heads just to be fun!), to help us work toward an environmental bottom line.  This year we are requesting all of our partners to be creative with their workshops and move away from giving multiple plastic bottles of water daily.  Our hosts have stepped up to the task for this regional meeting!