“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-12)
Moses had a problem. From dawn to dark he ministered to the people of Israel. Upon seeing this, his father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself.” (Exodus 18:17-18) His father-in-law then provided the solution which was to equip others to share in the ministry to the people.
The early church had a problem. After Pentecost the church was rapidly multiplying and a distribution dispute arose concerning widows. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.” (Acts 6:2) They instructed the brethren to appoint mature men in the faith to handle this business, saying, “We will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:3-4)
Today’s church has a problem. To venture a guess, it most likely has its roots in Catholicism. The hierarchical structure preferred by Rome appears to have bled into the Protestant branch of Christendom as well. This created an entrenched culture within the church where many consider the “man up front” with priest, pastor, or reverend attached to his name to be the “Holy Man”. The Holy Man does the Bible studying, the praying, the visiting, the counseling, the everything, while the laity tends to lay. Many of us are content to live our faith vicariously through the “man up front”. Then when our appointed spiritual super man cannot meet all the demands of ministry, we get a might upset. This cultural reality in the church needs to change.
That “man up front” is charged with equipping the saints, the laity, for the work of the ministry. Here is the desired result:
We learn how to come to the unity of faith.
We learn how to come to the knowledge of the Son of God.
We learn how to come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
We learn how to no longer be like ignorant children when it comes to false doctrine and false teachers.
We learn how to speak the truth in love (and understand that truth is love.)
We learn how to grow up in all things becoming like Christ.
We learn how to fit into the whole body of believers.
We learn how to embrace His calling that every part does its share in order for the body to live and grow and reproduce. (From Ephesians 4:11-16)
While we need to learn all these things, we need to unlearn our parasitic habit of expecting the “man up front” to do what we in fact are called to do. Is he faithfully and consistently teaching and equipping and edifying us to do our ministry? If so, then praise God for such a man!
At Calvary Baptist we most certainly can praise God for we do have such a man. We are blessed with every opportunity to learn what we need to learn, and also, just as importantly, what we need to unlearn. Are we, with thanksgiving to God, taking advantage of the teaching and equipping and edifying the body is receiving so powerfully and so passionately at Calvary? Are we thereby learning that – every part does its share?