This month’s newsletter from the Equipping Church Network has been sent. It is included below.
Are you in a church that is growing up? This question does not refer to numeric growth, but to spiritual maturity. And spiritual maturity is related to the members maintaining a personal relationship with the Head, Jesus Christ.
In Ephesians 4:15-16, which is the second part of our vital passage on Equipping, Paul says, “Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
What does it mean for the church to grow up into Christ? For pastors and church leaders, there is probably no greater question than this. And as is often true, deep questions sometimes have obvious answers. To grow up into Christ means to consciously and continually present everything pertaining to the church to the Lord, giving Him the freedom to work through every part of the church to fulfill His will.
Colossians 3:4 says, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through him.” Though we usually apply this verse to individuals, it refers also to the body of Christ as a whole. Doing all things in the name of the Lord Jesus is more than saying “in Jesus’ name.” It is consciously offering all that we do to Him, so that He can work through us. As has been said so often, ministry is measured not by what we do for the Lord, but what He does through us.
This puts an entirely new dimension on equipping. Equipping is involving the Lord’s people in ministry, motivating and giving them the help they need for their ministry, usually through ministry teams. But there is another aspect of training that is too often neglected; it is training them to continually offer themselves and their ministry fully to the Lord, so that He can use them as His instruments for fulfilling His will in the church and in the world.
Offering ourselves and our ministries to the Lord is not just a one-time decision, though it begins when we ourselves to the Lord as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). This decision, however, must be renewed each day personally, consciously putting Christ on the throne of our lives. And it must also be renewed for each aspect of our ministry for the Lord, allowing Him to be the Head of the church in reality.
This means that when a ministry team comes together to evaluate and plan their assigned ministry, the first thing in their work is to consciously offer all that they are doing to the Lord, praying that they will be effective instruments through whom He can fulfill His plan. And this is something that needs to be practiced individually by everyone serving in the Lord’s church.
Hopefully, this will become a practice for every aspect of the church’s ministry.