Yesterday we addressed why we must have unity in the church, as well as some practical ways to help bring and preserve unity, especially as outlined in Ephesians 4:11-13. We can become great at leadership and organization, but no amount of human organization or leadership will cause the church to grow up to “the measure of the stature that belongs to the fulness of Christ,” (see Ephesians 4:13). Only the Spirit can bring forth that which is spirit (see John 3:6), and only the Lord can build His church. When He builds His church He does it through the ministries that He has given for this purpose, which are the ones listed in Ephesians 4.
Presently, most churches are led by one person who, with his or her staff, does the majority of the ministry. A few are equipping some in the church to do a few aspects of the ministry, but mostly what would be considered the ministry of helps. Churches that are devoted to building home groups usually do more for equipping their people, but this cannot be a substitute for the ministry of those who are given for the equipping of the church. Some may bring in visiting ministries occasionally, such as an evangelist to stir up evangelism in their people. This is commendable, but there is a difference between stirring up and equipping.
I know quite a few traveling ministries who either claim to be, or aspire to be, one of the equipping ministries listed in Ephesians 4. However, with the exception of just a few, their program consists mostly of going to a church and having a good meeting, or maybe even a series of meetings, where their gifts are demonstrated. This can be helpful, and people are encouraged by it, but not equipped. For the church to mature in the way to which we are called, there must be a radical transformation of our concept of ministry. This is something that much of the church worldwide is now grappling with, and addressing, and it is something we must do.
We should question whether one is really an Ephesians 4 equipping ministry unless they are leaving behind those who can do what they do. This takes time, and it takes a depth of relationship that is not possible if one just passes through for a couple of days once or twice a year. That is why in the Book of Acts we see the traveling ministries sometimes parking in one place for months, or even years.
If we are not in a church that has the vision for equipping their people in all of the aspects we see in Ephesians 4, we can still receive from equipping ministries through other means. We are blessed today to have books, tapes, conferences, television, etc., all readily available. These can all be helpful, but for the church to “attain to the measure of the stature that belongs to the fulness of Christ,” it is obvious that there is a radical change needed in the general concept of ministry that most of the church now has.
Remember, change is good and change is coming.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner
|Pastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.|