Ephesians 4 has so many valuable points to make about the focus of ministry within the church. Here are the verses,
“11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” – Eph 4:11-16
First we see that ministry starts with Christ and it ends with Christ. He is the one who gave different people different responsibilities within His body. Without a doubt, that is an act done out of sheer grace. Then Paul tells us what the purpose of those rolls are – to prepare God’s people for works of service resulting in the building up of the church. Ultimately this results in unity, knowledge, and maturity.
So ministers aren’t the ones who are supposed to run around and “do church” for everyone else. Ministers should be in the business of preparing the church to be about the mission God gave the church to fulfill. That is called equipping. The church is at its best when the whole body of believers are joined together, united in Christ, supporting one another, and growing as each part does its work. That is a beautiful picture of a body in motion, not a single part out of sync with the rest…all working toward the same goal under the leadership of the head, Jesus Christ.
It is when ministers think they have been prepared by Christ to do all the works of service, leaving the rest of the body to be a spectator, that the congregation begins to break down…faith, knowledge, and maturity are all found lacking in those situations because bodies are made to move, not sit. Bodies aren’t made for a few select members to get the body functioning to its fullest. Bodies are made to be used. When they are used, they grow.
Ministers should never buy into the lie that it is all up to them…if it is going to get done, they are the one who has to do it. Remember, it is Christ who expects all his people to reach unity in the faith, knowledge and ultimately through maturity. Some ministers have such high standards for the quality of work they desire to be done that they would rather not let anyone else touch it or it might not get done as well…this too retards spiritual growth and results in weak and immature Christians. Some times you just have to be willing to let people have enough space to mature, even if it means a few mistakes along the way. It is amazing what people can do once they have “permission.”