15 Characteristics of an “Equipping” Church

Church leaders are called to equip believers for the work of ministry (Eph 4:12). The sense of equipping in that verse, according to one New Testament scholar, is that “people are prepared for a purpose.”[1] Not every church is an equipping church, however. Review the list below, and determine if your church is an equipping congregation.[2]

In an equipping church: 

  1. All members of the body are expected to serve in some capacity, and the church provides a process of training for that to happen
  2. Pastors mentor a few leaders at a time, equip them, and release them to do ministry
  3. Members are equipped and challenged to see their neighborhood and their workplace as a place of gospel witness
  4. Members are trained and expected to witness
  5. The church has a clear discipleship pipeline that takes new believers to Christian maturity
  6. New believers receive a mentor to walk with them as they begin their Christian journey
  7. Teachers are trained to teach, and then they are placed in teaching roles 
  8. Leaders intentionally teach biblical doctrine, but they also emphasize practical ways to live out Christian beliefs
  9. Potential group leaders receive training and are rotated into group leadership – when their training becomes ongoing
  10. Choir and praise team members are challenged to learn and grow musically, even as they sing God’s praises
  11. Worshipers learn about true worship and are led to worship well
  12. Members are taught spiritual disciplines, challenged to do them, and led to do so
  13. Deacons are trained in caring skills and then held accountable to do servant ministry
  14. Pastors have others who hold them accountable to their own spiritual, practical, and ministerial growth 
  15. Evaluation of the church’s equipping strategy is an ongoing process

I have no doubt you can add characteristics to this list. Please do so in the comments section to help all of us! 

[1] Peter O’Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians, Pillar NT Commentary (Eerdmans, 1999), 303.

[2] Some of this list is found in Chuck Lawless, Discipled Warriors (Kregel, 2002), 107. 


  • Robin G Jordan says:

    When you talk about worshipers learning about true worship, I am assuming that you mean that they are learning that worship is not listening to the choir or praise team sing a few hymns and praise songs on Sunday morning but living their lives to the glory of God. What we do before the sermon on Sunday morning is only a tiny part of our worship and if we are listening to the choir or the praise team, we are not worshiping. They are. We are only being passive spectators to someone else’s worship. True worship requires the active involvement of the worshiper if the worshiper is to worship in spirit and in truth. True worship extends beyond our Sunday morning gatherings. It is the way we live our lives, lives which are focused on glorifying God in everything that we think, feel, say, and do. God is the center of our lives. I would have put that at the top of the list. Everything else flows out of our worship.

  • Mara says:

    Is this a list of “shoulds”? If this church exists, ease tell me where.

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