|Steve Gaukroger takes WEBA Ministers through Ephesians|
This year's WEBA Ministers Conference at Sidholme in Sidmouth featured two speakers who addressed the theme of equipping God's people for mission. Steve Gaukroger, formerly Pastor of Gold Hill Baptist Church and now Director of the Clarion Trust, took us through part of Paul's letter to the Ephesians, starting with the call to equip God's people for works of service, a word which could equally be translated repair or prepare.
Tracy Cotterell of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity continued this theme with some practical examples, and encouraged Ministers to consider their 'pastoral contract' with their congregations - is it primarily therapeutic or equipping? I think this is a good question for all of us in any kind of ministry. Tracy pointed out that along with any other reasons people might give for leaving a church, they often feel that 'no-one cares' - the pastoral care contract hasn't worked. Can this lead to a tendency to 'convert and retain' rather than 'grow and release'?
Tracy pointed to research LICC had carried out at Spring Harvest, which demonstrated a great yearning among church people to "become fully the people we were meant to be in Christ." She imagined a 'pastoral contract' to build confidence and equip for mission, one that asks questions such as "What do you need so that you don't miss this opportunity to grow?"