I have been addressing the topic of equipping ministry in the Church. Today I am going to further detail some ways in which the equipping ministries serve the body of Christ. The fivefold expressions of Christ in the form of the equipping ministries are to teach the body members to grow in maturity in speaking the truth in love. What does it mean to speak the truth in love? This is not speaking the truth for truth’s sake, but speaking it for the sake of love. Any written truth or principle of truth is only a testimony of the person the Truth. He is God’s gift of love to men and He came to make men free! We must remember that the administration of the Knowledge of Good and Evil will not do, all things must operate according to the Tree of Life. The emphasis is upon relationship and not upon truth. The truth inspires a right relationship with God and with one another. The objective is the testimony of the body of Christ. This is to be the way the fivefold ministry functions and facilitates the members of the body. The idea is that the body continues to grow in the testimony of Christ.
The equipping ministry will also serve in causing the members of the body to function and grow in all things. The equippers are not to be the ones who function while body members observe. They are gifts to the body of Christ so that every part of the body will function. The growing testimony is one of intimacy in Christ and responsibility before Him. The objective is an increasing testimony of the character, nature, way, power, and authority of Christ. The whole body is to be properly joined and the equipping ministry is sent to activate, facilitate, and release members according to a Spirit relationship with Jesus Christ the head and the members of His body. In this the whole body will be knit together in covenant and life. The wording of Ephesians 4:16 reveals a contribution of life of member to member that causes one another to come to life. They supply each other with life in a way that causes one another to dance or to become who God made each of them be for the sake of His full testimony in the Church. The testimony of Christ in one that is dependent upon the supply of Christ in another. This is the proper joining of the members of the body. Again it is a testimony of relationship through knitting together in love and the flow of life. Each member is to supply life to another so the glory revealed is the body of Christ and not merely members of the body. The testimony is Christ!
Ephesians 4:16 …from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
The equippers are to serve in a way that causes each member of the body to find their place of effective working. That effective working will be in an apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral, or teaching way. This is why it takes all of the fivefold expressions of Christ revealed in the equipping gifts given to the Church working together for the glory of God. The objective is life and the power why which that life is made known is through each member of the body doing their share. This will cause the body to grow and find the edifying life of Christ. It is a testimony of love!
I believe that the glory of Christ can only truly be revealed through a testimony of intimacy in Christ. For this reason those who have been given as equipping gifts to the body of Christ must seek relationship above the power of ministry. I believe that the equipping of the Church can only be done through a plurality of ministry and that plurality must put the greatest emphasis upon covenant and the testimony of love. It is not the power of the apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral, or teaching that is the focus. It is the function of these things together in covenant life that serves to reveal the greater testimony of life. The body is filled with diverse members that are meant to reveal the testimony of Christ in His fullness. It is not about the work of ministry, but the body. That body will do the work of ministry, but it is because it is the body of Christ. The work of ministry is the fruit of being the body of Christ. The equipping ministry is sent to reveal the body of Christ for who she is in the fullness of Christ in the earth.
The body of Christ is a part of the calling of Christ and a part of the inheritance of God in the earth. Our objective is not to fulfill the calling of individuals, but to fulfill the calling of Christ as His body in the earth. That is done through diverse individuals working together through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is not our goal to obtain inheritance in the earth, but to reveal the inheritance of God through every member made alive and doing their part in Him. The equipping ministry is not given to make each member powerful, but to reveal the wonderful power of Christ in His Church. We are together the fullness of Him and the fivefold ministry is another part of the Church sent to see Christ made known in His body.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson