Mature in Christ, 1

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We often refer to the job of vocational pastors as the ministry, but Paul uses the term ministry differently. According to Paul, ministry is not something that only pastors do; it’s something we all do. Certainly, pastors and teachers do ministry, but their ministry is very specific. In Ephesians 4:11-12, Paul says that God gave pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, which is to build up the body of Christ. While Paul makes clear in other places that pastors, and others who dedicate their lives to church ministry, deserve to be paid for their work (1 Tim 5:17-18; 1 Cor 9:1-11), the concept of a professional minister has done great damage to the New Testament vision for the church. The church was never designed to have one person or even a small team of people ministering to the body. It was designed to minister to itself; to build itself up. The implications of this are huge. It means that each one of us has some gift that we can use to do the ministry of building up the body. The pastors aren’t better than any other member; they are merely gifted differently. Each and every believer in the church has a role to play in seeing the body built up. Another implication is that ministry doesn’t stop if something happens to the pastor(s). Many churches almost put themselves on hold when their pastor dies or leaves for some reason. But if that pastor had done his job well, then the whole body should be equipped to carry on ministry until another pastor can be found. We should think of pastors as sort of equipment managers. We have an important role in helping everyone get ready to play the game, but the game can certainly go on without us. In this we see the beauty of God’s plan for the church. The church was never designed to hinge on one man and his personality and talents. The church was designed to hinge on Christ who empowers each and every individual member to grow up into Him who is the head. It’s a glorious vision, really, one that eliminates celebrity and magnifies the life-transforming gospel. May God use the pastors at Liberty to equip the saints at Liberty to build up Liberty until we all attain to the fullness of Christ for His glory. –Pastor Rory

Sunday at Liberty

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