We must not think that ministry responsibilities in the church belong only to the pastors. The elders have a ministry, but a major part of their ministry is to equip all the other members in the church for their own ministry. Christian, you have a ministry in the church.
Excerpt from the full sermon, “Christian, You Are in the Ministry“.
We have way too much of a mentality in this country, and I’m afraid around the world, about the place that pastors and teachers are supposed to take on the priority that they have, because the reality is they’re not primarily the ones that are called into ministry in the church. They are, but the reality is if we break down ministry and we identify the ministry as basically something that the pastor-teacher falls into then we’re missing the picture that we’re being given here. Equipping the saints is key. Everything else down through the end of v. 16 is a result of this equipping. Look what happens. Just follow the text. When the saints are equipped – first prepositional phrase, v. 12, what happens? They will in turn do the work of ministry. When they do the work of ministry, the body will be built up. But then keep going to v. 13. Then will come the unity of the faith. Then will come the knowledge of the Son of God. Then will come the mature man and the stature of the fullness of Christ. Then we will be no longer children tossed to and fro. Then we will speak the truth in love. Then we will grow up in every way into Christ. Then we will make the body grow and build the church up in love. How verses 13, 14, 15, and 16 take place in the church is dependent on how you read that second prepositional phrase in v. 12. Do you see all of this as the pastor’s responsibility to make all this happen? Or do you see the pastor’s responsibility as primarily being to equip you so that you do it? See, this makes all the difference. When you walk through the door, you come into the assembly, you’re functioning in the church – not just between these walls, but throughout the week. If your mindset is: Oh, the pastors do that. And that’s a lot of the mindset behind the church. It’s more of the audience. It’s more of the spectator mindset. But this will not allow that. Basically what this says to every one of you is you have your ministry to play in making this. I said several weeks ago, look, we need every one of you. We need your ministry. We need that. Yes, you need the men who stand in the pulpit. And that doesn’t mean that as pastor-teachers all we do is stand in this pulpit. Our ministry of teaching, our ministry of the Word and prayer, it comes and impacts the life of the church not just from this wooden stand, but in different ways. But the reality is our part to play here is not simply to amuse you. It’s not simply what happens in the world. It’s not simply to make you feel good. It’s not to bring the Christian comedian up and get you all to laugh. You know, the reality is that what needs to happen is that we need to figure out how to equip. That’s from the standpoint of pastors and teachers. We need to figure out how to optimally, effectively equip you. And you know what, the reality is you can have men that lead the churches that do just the opposite. They tear down this reality. They prevent it from working. And I’ll tell you one of the ways that you prevent it from working is just by not getting that second prepositional phrase right to where we basically say, you know what? The elders in this church – they do everything. They’re in the ministry. And just emphasize and press and suppress the church to where it doesn’t do anything. It can’t act. We have to be involved in everything. We have to micromanage everything. You can’t do. We say this. We’re going to do this. We’re going to make everything happen. We’re going to do the evangelism. And we’re going to do the visitation. And we’re going to do the counseling. And we’re afraid you’re going to mess it all up, so we just want you to stay back, sit down. That’s bad. That is not the picture that is being given in Scripture here. Not at all. This excerpt is from the full sermon: Christian, You’re in the Ministry