In the bigger picture of the VantagePoint3 processes, The Equipping Experience is a natural next step for those wanting to continue the discovery process begun in The Emerging Journey, with a particular eye towards the skills associated with the work of leadership. Like Emerging, it is an 8-9 month process in four stages that adds to one’s learning, practical skills for doing the work and activity of leadership.
Recently, I was able to ask two facilitators of The Equipping Experience for feedback about the process. Here is what Phil Heller, the Lead Pastor of White River Christian Church in Indianapolis, had to say:
“The content of the Equipping Experience is thought provoking, heart shaping, practical, and Biblical. I have been tremendously challenged, equipped, and motivated through participating in the Equipping Experience. God has really deepened my understanding of the work of leadership.”
“The experience provides a strong leadership development pathway that is extremely relevant regardless of how comfortable you feel in the role of leadership. The potential for developing Kingdom leaders is so great, I pray every elder, staff member, and lay leader of our church will participate. The impact that would be made for God in our community and world will be multiplied exponentially if they do!”
“I tried for many years to develop a leadership development strategy and collect resources to equip and empower potential leaders in the work of God. The Equipping Experience has done that better than I ever could!”
Now hear what this gifted lay leader, Gloria Nollen of Central Reformed Church in Oskaloosa, Iowa, had to say:
“It is a great resource that has been a great experience! Our group and individual projects have addressed real ‘needs’ in the church: from a construction project, to a fellowship event for young couples, and a ‘story’ collection project from some of our senior adults as we prepare to celebrate our 100th year in ministry. Everyone has gained confidence to lead.”
“Our group consists of people who in the past would have been reluctant to step forward to initiate anything. But through the Emerging Journey and now, the safe environment of The Equipping Experience, they have gained confidence. It is great to see how each one has really ‘stepped up’!”
Both of these facilitators are seasoned leaders who understand the unique challenges of the local church and how difficult it is to empower leaders who lead well–in a Jesus sort of way, with an eye towards the kingdom of God and a Christlike sensitivity towards others.
I once had an executive-level marketplace leader tell me that The Equipping Experience is some of the best leadership training material he had ever experienced. If you knew this man, you would know that his comment was saying something! Many of your marketplace leaders may be attracted to this experience. And his follow-up comment was, ‘I’m glad you insist people go through The Emerging Journey first.’
Why? I think he understood that the quickest way to get somewhere is not always the best way to get there. The Emerging Journey is a transformative experience that sets the cultural DNA of The Equipping Experience. Emerging takes a lot of time to reframe the definition of leadership as ‘follower-ship’ of Jesus as a unique and dearly loved child of God, and the Equipping Experience builds on that with the practical skills of leading in a Jesus sort of way.
We at VP3 don’t simply want to empower leaders to lead. We believe the Christian community needs deeply shaped people, people formed in Christ, who will be empowered to lead in the kingdom of God, as Jesus leads them.