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Equipping through Discipleship and Development

Jan 23, 2023

“Equipping is simultaneously discipling and developing.”

After recently working through a new vision statement based on Ephesians 4, Gateway Church in Parkesburg, Pa., began seeking new ways to equip their people. They believe equipping is multifaceted and wanted to develop methods that were both beneficial to the one being equipped and that would utilize the gifts of those doing the equipping.

“We serve a creative God and we were made in His image,” Communications Director Brittney Turpin said. “Everyone has something to offer to build the Body; creating the space for people to be able to do that is the church’s job.” Brittney assisted Gateway in developing a creative team where people could use their creative gifts and talents to serve the church. “We shoulder-tapped several people and asked them, ‘How would you want to use your creativity here?’”

One person who received a shoulder-tap was Jenn Baker. Brittney met with Jenn to discuss what Jenn’s involvement might look like. “I discovered she has an absolute passion for getting people into the Word,” Brittney said. “She lit up when she found out there was a possibility of using that passion.”

Brittney and Jenn sat down with Lead Pastor Scott Feather to see what it could look like to use Jen’s desire to get people into the Word in a creative way. They landed on creating an inductive Bible study that would accompany the passages of Scripture being taught on Sunday mornings.

“Your spiritual life is dependent upon your consumption of the Word of God. We need to know how to feed ourselves from the Word, and not rely on others to do it for us,” Jenn said. The study is designed for one-on-one time with God to give people an in-depth look at the passage prior to hearing it preached. It is distributed to the congregation on Monday mornings and works through the who, what, where, when, and why to provide context. Congregants spent a whole week talking to God about the passage and gaining a deeper understanding of it before hearing it unpacked further on Sunday.

“These studies involve you in the learning process by marking the text of Scripture and guiding you through interpretation and application questions. On Sundays, the message coincides with the devotional content, bringing everything full circle,” Jenn explained.

“Knowing that our people are learning to study and ‘feed themselves’ has been a game-changer for me and our church,” Lead Pastor Scott Feather said. “Our people are not only fleshing out the text in sermon-based small groups after a weekend message, but they are coming on Sunday mornings having already spent time getting into the text themselves and letting the Holy Spirit work in them individually before He works in us corporately.”

The newly-formed creative team is fulfilling Gateway’s vision of equipping through discipleship and development. It is developing leaders, disciplining participants, and equipping the congregation through new methods such as the inductive Bible study. If you’re interested in discussing how to get a creative team started at your own church or how to develop and utilize an inductive Bible study, get in touch with Gateway on their website here.