Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, (12) to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, (13) until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, (14) so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (15) Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (16) from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Every good team needs coach. The coach is the one who puts all the players into perspective. He/ she evaluates players different skill sets, teaches the fundamentals, keeps the team in shape, and works the team through practicing the plays. Then on game day the coaches determine who plays, when they play, and what plays to run in a given situation. If coaches do there job well, the entire team does well.
The Lord has given us coaches within the body of Christ who are there to help us develop and coordinate our individual gifts for the sake of the whole body. The goal is to bring God’s people to maturity both individually and corporately. Pastors/ teachers are not there to simply educate or inform us, but to equip us for the work of ministry.
Sometimes a congregation can expect one or two individuals to do everything. They imagine that they pay the pastor(s) to do all the work. That would be like paying a coach to play the game while the rest of the team sits on the sidelines and criticizes him/her. That’s not a healthy team and it’s not healthy when a church operates that way. It’s healthy when you and I exercise our gifts in relation to one another for the glory of God. Some encourage, others serve, still others figure out administration, others teach, and others still offer hospitality, etc. and the pastor encourages and equips so that nothing is missing from the people of God. We are all well trained, well loved, well encouraged, and we mature and help others mature in the faith.
Father, thank you for the grace of one another. Thank you that Christianity isn’t an individual event, but that you have called us together and placed us with in the context of one another to form your church. I pray that we would know and exercise our gifts in relationship to one another in such a way that everyone is encouraged, strengthened, and growing in the Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.