by Lawrence Romero
Every believer should be at the frontline of preaching the gospel and making disciples of all nations. But the real picture shows us that most believers are not doing it. As pastors, how do we confront this issue? Let’s dig in to Ephesians 4:7-16 for solutions.
Know what Christ has given to the Church
Grace is given to every believer in Christ. Verse 7 says, “But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (RSV). That means everyone who is in Christ has grace that allows us to be used by God “according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
“And His gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (v.11-12, RSV).” The gifts are given for the edification of the body.
Understand why Christ has given these gifts
Grace and gifts are given to each of us for one purpose: “to equip the saints for the work of ministry.” Why do we need to equip the saints? “For building up the body of Christ.”
Build up is synonymous to develop and to shape. According to The Free Dictionary, to develop means “to cause to grow; to cause to mature; and to bring out the possibilities of.” As pastors, we need to guide our people to grow in their daily prayer and bible meditation. Then we should lead them in exercising their faith for the purpose of bringing out in them the possibilities of doing great things for God.
Shape has something to do with character formation. There are three important questions that we need to ask ourselves in this area: (1) What character do we want our people to adopt? (2) Whose character do we want our people to imitate? (3) As a pastor, am I Christ-like?
So “building up the body of Christ” means helping our people develop their passion for Jesus by shaping their character towards Christ-likeness.
Put into practice these God-given gifts
When people are equipped, v.14 says “that we may no longer be children tossed to and fro …” Our people will begin to see themselves being used by God in capacities they never imagined they could do. They shall have the courage and the power to preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations.
Keep on growing as we enable others
As we equip our people, verse 15 tells us to “grow up in every way into Him who is the Head, into Christ.” That means we are to feed ourselves in Jesus. As we teach and guide our people about spiritual maturity, we should also be faithful in doing our daily prayers and bible meditation as pastors.
Reap the fruit of your labor
“… When each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and up builds itself in love (v.16).” Growth is the obvious outcome when we equip our people for ministry. “Gone are the days when the pastor has to do everything by himself. Now is the time to equip and involve our people in leading bible studies, small groups, praying for the sick, evangelism, and the various ministries God has entrusted to us.