It’s crucial that this biblical conviction of ministry be the GRID through which all your ministry decisions are passed.
“What are we doing on the Lord's day, especially when we are gathered as God's people in church? How do we understand Christian growth and discipleship -- as chiefly corporate or individual, as nourished by the preached Word and the divinely instituted Lord's Supper or Baptism or by self-approved "means of grace"? Would an outsider coming into our worship services be immediately impressed with the centrality of preaching, baptism, and the supper, or would he or she be more likely to notice the importance given to performance?”
Could we all agree that our purpose for a local church is to provide Worship and Discipleship and Community and Fellowship? Where there is a difference is in how to provide the Worship, Discipleship, Community and Fellowship.
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We would all agree on Ephesians 4:11 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.
We agree that the pastor/teachers are to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ. Where there is a difference of opinion is “the how” the saints are to be equipped for the doing of the ministry. And a difference of persuasion as to what is the work of the ministry as described here in these verses.
I would say also there are different mind sets as to how ministry is to be fleshed out in the body of Christ.
How to equip the saints? What are “the works of the ministry? And who and how are we to flesh out doing the ministry?
How is the best way to bring about the results that Paul speaks about in verse 13 thru 16?
Each member of the body is to grow up in every way into Christ likeness, so that the whole body of believers in the local church will grow in number. (“makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”) This could mean as we grow in Christ likeness, and in love, there will be an increase in a number of people being saved and coming into the church.
- “makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love; the increase of the body the church, is either in numbers, when persons are converted and added to it; or in the exercise of grace, under the influence of the Spirit, through the ministration of the word and ordinances; and both these tend to the edifying or building of it up; John Gill said. And he was a hyper Calvinist, and pastored the church where Charles Spurgeon pastored.
So how should the effort of building up the body of Christ in the local church be accomplished? Failure to correctly understand biblical leadership leads to unbiblical discipleship and modeling and uneven ministry priorities