Equipping the Church
November 13th, 2018 | Ephesians 4:1-16
Have you ever wondered what your pastor does all week? The only exposure many church attenders have to the pastor’s ministry is during the sermon. They think that all a pastor does is stand up and talk about the Bible for twenty or thirty minutes. How hard can it be?
In Ephesians 4:1–16, the apostle Paul offers a job description not only for the church’s pastors but also for its apostles, prophets, and evangelists. They were given to the church by Christ to “equip God’s people for works of service” (Eph. 4:12). Many church leaders see this as a command to train the congregation to staff the church’s programs. Some are frustrated by the difficulty they encounter in this task.
But while it certainly can be a good idea to equip members to staff church programs, it is probably not what Paul had in view. The New Testament church did not have the kind of programs we see in churches today. Focusing on staffing church programs seems too limited. Most members spend far more time outside the church than inside, even when they are heavily involved in its programs.
Evangelical author John Stott noted that all the gifts mentioned in Paul’s list relate in some way to the ministry of teaching. Paul’s concern was not to staff programs but to help people understand the truth of God’s Word and become mature. What then is the ministry for which they are being prepared? It is to bear witness to the truth in whatever context they may find themselves. It is to be Christians in whatever situation they happen to be. The gifted individuals Paul lists equip the church when it is assembled so that it can live like the church when it is dispersed.
APPLY THE WORD
The Ephesians 4 model radically changes our view of ministry. Instead of being concerned about staffing a handful of programs, the church should be concerned about equipping people for life. Pray for your church leaders that they will be faithful to this calling, and consider your part in this ministry.
PRAYER | LEBANON
Pray for all the Christian organizations and schools in Lebanon where there is much freedom to proclaim Jesus as Lord. Pray the country will continue to be a place of refuge for many people.
Today in the Word’s Devotion is a production of Moody Global Ministries
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