Thoughts on the Way Home

Thursday, May 08, 2008

God's People - Everyone Working

Something a brother said in a small group two nights ago really hit me in a fresh way, with now a fresh verse to claim for proper theology, specifically ecclesiology. I thought I'd pass it on:

Ephesians 4

It 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.

His point (and Paul's in Ephesians) was that apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers all equip the rest of the body, so that they can serve and work. That is, more specifically, it's totally unbiblical to think that the "work" of the church is done by those with the above gifts/roles. The above people are to be equippers and to be setting good examples, but they are never to carry the burden of church "work" alone. This means a healthy church should never be a one man show, or some kind of Sunday morning spectator sport. God gifts a pastor, for example, the way he does so that everyone else can be better at what they do in the body of Christ. If a church doesn't function this way, it's probably not a true "church," or perhaps it was at one time and is now dying.

Anyway, the verse was great and made me really happy. I used to be so bothered and burdened by the way "ministry" was portrayed at the Baptist college I attended. But what a privilege and great joy the truth is. We are all workers! Let's find some good pastors and teachers and evangelists to equip us to go about doing some work for the Lord.

And possibly by way of challenge, do some thinking about your church and your pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.. How are you fitting in? How are they equipping you? In what ways are you serving?