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Their Responsibility

Their Responsibility

28 October 2015

Reading: Ephesians 4; Proverbs 20

Scripture:

11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (Ephesians 4:11–16 NLT)

Christ has given leadership gifts to the church! Paul calls them apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. In the 21st Century US church, we typically acknowledge evangelists, pastors, and teachers. While some streams of the church recognize the gifts of apostle and prophet, they don’t always function in the healthiest way. Organizationally, we pretty much limit it to pastors, at least that’s what we call the people we hire to lead and serve our churches.

Functionally, these leaders serve as preachers, teachers, administrators, managers, and a bunch of other very important roles and tasks. What they currently and historically don’t do much of is to equip God’s people to do his work!

Paul says that if these leader-gifts actually functioned to equip God’s people, we would eventually (sooner or later?) become united in faith and in relationship to Jesus Christ. He says that we would actually be mature, not easily swayed by new ideologies, not easily taken in by tricksters and false representations of Gospel Truth! In fact, we would become truthful, loving, and in every way, more and more like Christ!

It looks like that won’t happen until our structures allow leaders to do what they’re called to do and we members of the body are equipped to do what we’re called to do! What do you think?

Prayer:

Father, I pray that the leaders and their gifts will be able to function as intended, and that the church Jesus loves so much will become all you intend her to be! Amen!

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