TODAY’S READING: Ephesians 4:1-12
“to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” EPH 4:12
At the opening of one of our church buildings on the Isle of Man, there was a plaque erected stating that the building was opened by ‘Rev. Jonathan G. Stanfield, Minister’.
Who really is ‘the minister’? (We’ll leave the ‘Rev.’ addition for another devo!)
In yesterday’s devotional we read about the ‘fivefold” gifts and, in today’s verse we learn that their role in working with local churches is not to create bigger platforms and spotlights for themselves but rather to raise up others to minister.
A healthy local church isn’t a bottleneck with a small group of leaders at the top; rather, its leaders are at the bottom, ensuring that every saint finds their grace-zone and place of ministry.
During the lockdown of 2020, I was really encouraged to see how well the Living Hope family stepped up to the plate and how literally every saint, hundreds and hundreds, ministered to the needs of others in their life groups and congregations, and also, the wider community. As a pastor/elder, I was able to devote myself to the ministry of the Word and prayer, and to equip them for every good work they were doing.
If you’re a follower of Jesus - a saint - then let me remind you that you’re also a minister. Be sure to give yourself fully to your leaders so that they can equip you to fully play your part in a healthy body.
To leaders: we’ve often grown-up in a model of church which revolves around us doing the day-to-day ministry and this is often a difficult paradigm to move away from. My number one suggestion to help you both minister in your grace zone and to release as many saints as possible into theirs is, when faced with any ministry opportunity, to ask the following three questions and in this order. (Anyone who knows me will say these three questions will be on my headstone!)
- What needs to be done?
- What can others do?
- What must I do?
Often, most leaders end up reversing questions two and three and ask themselves, “how can I get others to help me?” This puts a lid on the level of ministry because leaders can only do so much, and we also restrict the majority of saints from ministering.
So, who really is ‘the minister’?
You are. Well actually, we all are! Every single saint - without exception - has a calling, a grace and a unique role in building up the body of Christ.
Now, there’s no need to buy a dog collar, alter the tone of your voice to the classic pastor/minister lilt or change your title by deed poll. Simply pick up a basin and towel today and wash the feet of some of the saints around you in whatever way the Lord tells you.
• Read Ephesians 4:1-12
• If you’re not yet ministering in your local church, ask your leaders how you can start. If you are serving why not ask your leaders for some perspective on how you can be more fruitful.
• Pray that every local church will have a fully mobilised body with every member ministering.