“What do you want to be true of you in five years?”
It’s a question I often ask when I’m teaching groups. I let them know that the question is coming, to allow introverts time to reflect. The group separates into clusters of three or four people to share their answers. And then I have each person introduce someone else by telling us their answer to the question.
The question can be phrased in slightly different ways. “How do you want to be in five years?” “How do you want to be known?” “If I were to introduce you to a friend of mine in five years, how would you want me to describe you?” But always, the time span is five years and the content of the answer is less about jobs or accomplishments and more about character.
The other day, I was going through this process with a group of young leaders. I realized that I needed to be able to answer the question myself. And so I asked me, “What do you want to be true of you in five years?” And I immediately wrote down two words: “Effective equipper.”
“Equip” is the third of my three words this year. The other two are Kingdom and Invite. The word comes from a letter to a church in the ancient city of Ephesus. Paul says that God gave some people the capacity for leadership roles to equip God’s followers to serve others. Equipping here includes explaining how, explaining why, giving permission, focusing attention.
Rather than always doing works of service, pastors and teachers are to equip others.
Some of us don’t think we know anything. Some of us don’t think we can trust anyone. Some of us don’t think teaching is as meaningful as doing. Some of us think teaching is more important than doing. Some of us love to be abstract.
But Paul says that the measure of whether we are living out our gift is whether anyone else is serving because of how we equip.