Church planters must be courageous and bold. Starting with nothing, they gather people, money, and resources, weaving together something from nothing. Their visionary efforts are marked by faith and centered in prayer, and through their initiative, local churches emerge.
Once a church is established, it will only thrive if it is centered in the gospel and tended by leaders with an intrinsic understanding of the culture in which it exists. This is the goal of Encompass’ Church Equipping Network, which is dedicated to helping local churches flourish by raising and equipping indigenous leadership.
The network partners with young congregations around the world, helping them develop a profound understanding of how Scripture should be presented in their unique settings. Its 37 members serve in more than a dozen countries, where they identify and train local church leaders, ground them in the gospel, and discover how the truth is best expressed in their native contexts.
Every region presents its own needs and considerations, and the daily work of the Church Equipping Network requires great creativity. Its members are constantly engaged in roundtable discussions, identifying emerging trends and crafting initiatives to address challenges. There is no playbook, no formula; each idea, project, and initiative is centered in prayer and led by the Holy Spirit.
As a church planting movement began to grow in Argentina, Gary McCaman needed to find a way to train church leaders whose work schedules and family obligations prevented them from attending seminary. Through Gary’s networking, God assembled a team of native ‘craftsman’ experienced in both teaching and pastoring to train these leaders at times and locations that fit into the rhythms of Argentinian life. This fruitful model has since spread beyond the border to many Latin American countries.
In Cameroon, stories are often told in song, poetry, and even dance. Jason and his team at the Cameroon Bible Institute have been developing courses and resources that teach church leaders how to present the gospel in these aural and visual expressions. Because many students have received little formal education, training materials are designed to be easily memorized. This facilitates learning regardless of educational experience, and it equips institute students to train others in their communities.
Regardless of context, the goal of equipping the church is always the same. “I want to make sure that every church thinks about how to fortify its leaders with the gospel, and how to encourage those leaders to multiply,” network director Florent Varak shares, “This excites me, because God is passionate about reaching everyone for whom He has died, and this is how it needs to happen in every region.”
Though culture has great bearing on its presentation, the gospel is the singular hope of every nation. Encompass’ Church Equipping Network is leading the charge of raising church leaders who are mature in the gospel and prepared to present the hope of Christ in their unique settings.
Introducing the Church Equipping Network
Church Equipping Resources:
ReDiscovering the Ministry of the Evangelist
Making Disciples Across Cultures
Transforming Theological Education
Encompass|Church Equipping Network from Charis Fellowship on Vimeo.