I read the following on the Ephesians 4 ministries and it got me thinking:
“Traditionally, the concept of ministry has been narrowed to that of the pastor-teacher with evangelists forced to work outside the church and apostles and prophets relegated to the limbo-land of yesteryear. But all the ministries are needed in the church if for no other reason than to produce that essential variety which is a mark of God’s handiwork. When a church is monopolised by the ministry of a teacher then the people form an audience and tend to become to passive. Often, when a teacher leaves, his listeners leave too. Similarly, where an evangelist works alone without the other ministries, a large number of spiritual babies will be produced with no one to help them grow up and mature. If a prophet is the only ministry operating within the body then more often than not he will end up on some mountain top with a tiny handful of elite followers staunchly believing they have received more revelation than anyone else. Unbalanced by any other ministry the pastor too, on his own, produces distortion. The sheep become merely fat and wooly, over cosy and over fed, content to graze and glad to have their ears tickled, but lacking any clear sense of direction. But the Ascended Christ gives all five ministry-gifts in order to provide his Church with that richness and variety which can more nearly reflect his own.” (Philip Greenslade, Leadership).
Although these examples are taken to the extreme, I can’t help but recognise churches in these examples. We often over emphasise either teaching over worship, the prophetic over mission or worship over everything else. The simple fact for the church is that they are all important.
Having a good biblical understanding of God encourages you to worship Him. Yet worshipping God and seeking His presence should make us long for His word. These both should increase our hearts for mission and seeing the lost come to know Christ. Serving Christ in mission and seeing the hearts of the lost changed, should cause us to worship. They are all linked.
I guess the question that I’m asking is what part of the example do you see in your church? What do I see in The Oak Church? What ministry are we strong in and where are we weaker?
If we have become too cosy maybe it’s time for mission. If the sole focus of the church is mission are there pastors to help the followers of Christ, both old and new, grow and mature?
On a personal point do you thrive when sharing God’s love and the gospel with non-believers, or do you get excited when encouraging the body of Christ? Some are called to mission. As C.T. Studd said, “Some want to live within the sound of Church or chapel bells. I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”
However, some of us are called to intercede for the church. Some are called to encourage, some to teach etc.
Whether your calling is serving by putting out chairs on a Sunday afternoon or cleaning the toilets on a Monday morning, it is just as important as the big time evangelist. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12 every part of the body is important. The hand doesn’t say to the foot ‘I don’t need you’! We all have a role to play as important as each other. Are you doing yours?
For the Church to run in all Christ’s glory and fullness as we were commissioned, we need to use all the tools that Christ gave us! The great thing is when we do, Jesus’s light shines brightly for all to see in a dark and desperate world.