It has been a privilege and delight to share the stories of Equippers and Frontliners with you over the last several weeks. As I’ve sat down (virtually) with each of these brothers and sisters to hear what faithful discipleship looks like in their own context, I’ve been repeatedly encouraged.
This is part, I believe, of why we need to hear stories like the ones we’ve been sharing this summer. It’s not only about learning from each other, though this assuredly occurs. It’s not only about expanding our vision of the Kingdom of God, though this is important. It’s not only about elevating stories that often get overlooked, though this is a need. These stories are also about the encouragement we receive when we hear from the whole body.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul famously compares the church to a body. There is one body, he says, but it is made of many parts. Each of these parts is needed and important, and each serves its own function. Paul uses the analogy of the body to remind us that we cannot elevate one part of the body over another, that we cannot minimize part of the body and call it unnecessary. (You can read for yourself in 1 Cor. 12:12-27.)
When we hear the stories of both equippers and frontliners, we hear stories from the whole body. We hear about how each of our brothers and sisters in their unique forms of ministry are serving their role in the work of God’s Kingdom. We can stand in awe and rejoice in the ways God is using his people as hands and feet, eyes and ears, mouths and heads. And when we hear how God is working in the everyday lives of other Christians, we are encouraged for faithfulness in our own lives. We see God working in their context, their relationships, their work, and we remember that He can—and is!—working in ours as well.
So as we draw this series officially to a close, we hope it doesn’t end with a final blog post. We hope it’s one you can carry on in your own church community. If you’re an equipper, ask the frontliners in your church to share where and how God is working in their lives. If you’re a frontliner, ask the equippers in your life where they see God at work as well. Encourage each other, pray for each other, and cheer each other on as we all seek to live faithfully as the co-missioned church.
Diana Gruver (MA, Gordon-Conwell) writes about discipleship and spiritual formation in the every day. She is the author of Companions in the Darkness: Seven Saints who Struggled with Depression and Doubt. You can find her online at www.dianagruver.com or on Facebook or Twitter. Diana originally published this work with the Vere Institute (Oct 2014 – May 2021), which was founded to empower Christians to integrate their faith into everyday life. The Vere Institute’s legacy lives on through our Vere Library.