February 23 I Wednesday
“So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up...” —Ephesians 4:11-12
Jesus Christ has gifted His church with evangelists, pastors and teachers, not simply so we may learn about moral ethics and behaviour, but to prepare us for works of service. This is the second stage Paul writes about in the making of a healthy, fruitful church.
The New Testament model of the church is not like a pyramid with the minister or pastor positioned at the top. Rather, the minister or pastor is positioned like a coach, training, equipping and motivating his team. When it comes to the game, he sits on the sidelines while the players do their work. A good example is a church in Connecticut that has its service times listed on a billboard. Underneath, it reads: “Ministers: All the Congregation.” This is a very biblical understanding of the church—that pastoral ministry exists to coach, encourage and prepare people for works of service.
What are these works of service? In Ephesians 2:10, Paul says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” What has God prepared in advance for us to do? We first need to read the Word of God to find out what His general will is for all people because His individual will for us will always be within the confines of His general will. Paul says, “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it” (Ephesians 4:7). Grace means “gift,” so we need to discover how God has uniquely gifted us and how that will function together within the corporate body of the church.
We all have different gifts, and they usually energize us, but we do not discover those gifts until we step out in faith and exercise them. As we engage in works of service, our prayer lives will suddenly become more specific, such as, “Lord, I want to pray for Danny tonight. He’s interested in becoming a Christian.” This is why it is vital for us to find our place in God’s plan, because the work God is doing in us will begin to stagnate if it does not flow out into benefit to others.
Spiritual leadership is getting people onto God’s agenda to further His interests and purposes in the world. Those in teaching or leadership roles are there to expound the Word of God in dependence upon the Holy Spirit, so that people are moved more fully onto God’s agenda and are encouraged to serve.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to discern what it is You would like me to do within the church and use me, Lord, I pray. Thank You.