Equip tour trains leaders at 8 sites

Originally published at Western Recorder – www.westernrecorder.org

Louisville—The last half of August, a Kentucky Baptist Convention team covered eight locations across the state, bringing workshops on evangelism, discipleship and ministry leadership skills to 1,516 attenders on their Equip tour.

The tour began in Prestonsburg and ended in Hopkinsville, stopping along the way at locations within an hour’s drive of any Kentucky Baptist church.

Equip is part of a biennial multi-discipline event to train laypersons in the church for more effective ministry. For the past four years, Equip has rotated with Super Saturday events to provide training to Kentucky Baptists.

Steve Rice, church consulting and revitalization team leader, explained that although pastors, church staff and members are all invited, pastors make up the minority at these conferences. “It’s mostly church members who want training in the areas where they have been called to serve in the local church,” he said.

“Most churches view the fall as the church year kick off, and many times they have new folks in place. We want to coincide with their calendars since we’re serving our churches and we’re church-centric in what we offer,” Rice said.

Workshop topics encompassed categories such as adult Sunday school, children’s ministry, church finances, discipleship, evangelism, revitalization, Sunday school directors, women’s ministry, worship and music, and youth ministry.

“Do’s and don’ts of music ministry” and “Resources for music ministry” were topics that Jason Stewart, KBC worship and music consultant presented.

“When the typical KBC church gathers for their weekly congregational worship services, more than likely someone has been given the responsibility of song selection, song leading, and maybe even directing the choir,” he said. “They may also have the responsibility of scheduling special groups, directing the sound techs, and who knows what else. There is a lot that goes into leading a church worship service, … or there should be.”

He continued, “For the 2016 Equip Tour, my class has been directed towards those that accomplish that feat week in and week out. I have intentionally taught the class as if I were giving advice to a younger version of myself. The purpose of the class has been to give practical helps for the local church music leader.”

Shelley Johns, women’s and senior adult ministry consultant, presented workshops on “evangelistically focused women’s ministry” and “revitalize your faith and ministry through conflict reconciliation.”

“Ministry involves serving God through people,” she said. “One of the best ways to serve based upon His Word is to intentionally use women’s ministry to bring others face to face to their need for Christ—either for the first time or as a building up and equipping in the faith.

“Moreover, how we work with each other, utilizing our giftedness in the Body shows Christ’s love through our unity in Him,” she added. “Evangelistically focused women’s ministry and intentionally exercising reconciliatory habits as a lifestyle consistently glorify Christ.

During the tour, she was moved by the many women desiring to live out their calling with unfiltered obedience to God’s Word, Johns said. “They were eager to allow His Word to drastically affect change in their hearts so that others might see and experience Him more clearly through their ministries … their very lives,” she said.

Stewart added, “I am amazed at the incredible turnout for each location.” For example, in Walton, there were 229 registrants; in Paducah, 241; and in Hopkinsville, 267.

“Obviously this kind of training is needed and is helping our churches be effective in reaching Kentucky and the world for Christ,” he said.

Alan Whitham, regional consultant group leader for the KBC, addressing attenders at Parkway Baptist Church in Bardstown, recognized the importance of the state convention’s partnership with the local church, especially for events like Equip. Because churches like yours give to missions through the Cooperative Program, we are able to offer something like the Equip Tour,” he noted. (WR)