Today I want to continue on the subject of the equipping ministry to the body of Christ. God has given grace gifts to His Church. Those grace gifts were given for the glory of God and His purpose in the church. I will begin by looking at a Scripture text from the book of Ephesians that describes the equipping gifts.
Ephesians 4:11-16 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ–from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
In this passage of Scripture there are several things listed that are the responsibility of the equipping ministry of the church. As I mentioned in my last blog, there are 4 or 5 equipping gifts that are given as grace gifts to the body of Christ. I personally believe that there are 5, but I don’t believe the number of nor the definition of the nouns are as important as the verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and things of action made manifest by the nouns in the church. In other words, the purpose of these equipping gifts is to activate the attributes of Christ in the collective, yet individually unique expressions of the body.
The first thing that I find in the description is that these gifts are given to equip the members of the body of Christ for the work of ministry. These are not those who simply do the work of ministry, but rather they equip the saints for the work of ministry. What is the work of ministry? The word ministry is simply a word that means to serve or do actions that testify of the works of God. Every believer is called by God to serve with actions that demonstrate the love of God. Those works reveal the testimony of the love of God and thus they destroy the works of the devil. God has given His equipping gifts to make every believer ready and able to express the works of God in their own unique and powerful way. Those works of ministry will manifest apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral, and teaching attributes to the world in which we live. People will touch the lives of other people with a sending power of grace. The result will be increasing revelations of purpose and generational destiny. Fathers will turn their hearts to children and children will turn their hearts to fathers. People will touch people with the power of God’s voice that causes dead places to come to life and the world to change. They will activate the saving grace of God in miraculous ways of life. Lost lives will be found and God’s love will capture the hearts of many in simple, unique, profound, and powerful ways. People will inspire people to care about and for one another. The pastoral heart of God will become increasingly evident in human hearts with demonstrations of God’s love through human hands. The grace of discipleship will cause many to understand the ways of God and walk in His paths of life. The body of Christ will be seen doing the work of ministry and the world will increasingly change for the glory of God.
The five expressions of equipping will release the unique expressions of the body of Christ. They will activate, facilitate, and release the members of the body to be themselves with the anointing of Christ in unique ways that contribute to the collective purpose. Members of the body will be edified and will edify one another. There will be an increasing unity of faith, knowledge of the Son of God, perfection, and continued maturation among the members of the body.
Here is a list of the things the equipping gifts will do, and even more so inspire to happen among the members of the body of Christ:
- Equip the saints for the work of ministry
- Edify the body of Christ
- Cause the body members to come to the unity of the faith
- Cause the body members to come to the knowledge of the Son of God
- Cause the body to come become a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
- Prevent the body members from remaining little children, but to grow up in maturity
- Protect the body from being tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine
- Protect the body from the trickery of men, who come in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive
- Teach the body members to learn to speak the truth in love
- Produce a functioning body that grows up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ—
- Cause the whole body to be properly joined
- Cause the body members to be knit together
- Cause every joint (body member) to supply life to one another
- Cause everyone to find their place of effective working
- Cause every part to do their share
- Cause growth of the body
- Cause the body to edify itself in love
I will address some more of the specifics of the purpose and fruit of the equipping gifts to the body of Christ in my next leader blog. Please consider your role as an equipper and as one who also must be equipped in the body of Christ.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson