Read: Eph 4:1-32
Their (the church leaders) responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. (vs.16) 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 4:12 & 16
There are 6 full length sermons in Ephesians 5 so picking one theme is tough. But the clear message of “every member ministry” comes through loud and clear here.
Paul lays out that the job of church leaders is to equip God’s people for the work of the church and to build up the people. Then in vs 16 he talks of how each part (that would be each one of us) has a special part to play.
In modern times, we have lost sight of this model of church where the pastors are the equippers and the people are the ministers. Yet this is when the church is at its best, when it shines the brightest, and when it’s most effective.
When you look at the first several hundred years of the church, it was an underground movement. There were few buildings and few professional clergy. Everybody who was part of the church played a part in the ministry of the church. The leaders led, equipped, and encouraged, but everybody did the ministry. The Church literally transformed the world, largely without a professional clergy, because everybody was actively engaged.
Contrast that to today when most people look to the clergy to do everything… after all that’s why we hire them right? The result is not only burned out pastors, but a church that functions like a body with most of its parts missing.
I was reflecting on my trip to Disney world the other day and how amazing it is that they can keep wowing you at every turn. From the environments they create to the cleanliness of the place, to the interactions of their employees with the public – it’s one Wow after another. In part, they are able to pull that off because of what they charge and the fact that they can hire 60,000 employees to tend to every detail.
As I continued to reflect on the church in light of my Disney experience, I found myself lamenting that we can’t hire 60,000 people to Wow people for Jesus.
But then it occurred to me. We have 2.2 billion people, who if they took Paul’s mandate of every member ministry seriously, would wow the world with love, grace, excellence and creativity. 60,000 vs. 2.2 billion… there’s nothing the Church can’t do if we can get back to this model of ministry.
So what is your part to play? And how can you help others discover their part and get in the game. If we all start working on this, we’ll see a movement of God like we haven’t seen in a long time.
Father, help me to know my part and to play it well. Help me to share this vision with others and inspire them to come along. Wake up the sleeping giant that is the Church and Wow the world with your love and grace. Forgive me for where I have sat on the sidelines waiting for someone else to lead the way. In Jesus’ name, amen.