Ephesians 4:11,12 – “And Jesus gave these gifts, some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the working of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ.”
Before we look into this word I want to say a couple of things. I Love the Word of God. I Love the Church. I’ve given the last thirty years of my life to serving the people of the Church. I especially love the body that I lead, The Presence Dallas. I Love the Body of Christ that Jesus gave His life to establish. This is why I need to share this word.
If you grew up in the circle of faith that I did as a young believer, there was a culture established that you accepted as right because you didn’t know any better. I find it very shocking though that here we are years later, and this attitude still exist. And most believers still accept it and submit to it. The truth is that the world has its stars and idols, but the Church is not any different. We have our share of star’s and idols too. Don’t get me wrong, gifts from God are always to be respected and honored. In fact, the apostle Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 5:17 that those who lead the church are worthy of double honor, especially those that preach and teach. What I want us to see here is what I call the “man of God” attitude. We show up to see and hear what the “man of God” is going to do and say. The attitude that the “man of God” is the only one that can truly speak or prophecy for God. This attitude is so religious and anti-Bible. It is unhealthy and an epidemic in the Body of Christ, especially Dallas. Anytime we are in an environment that is not training and equipping the body to do ministry, it is an unhealthy place. Because what is really happening is that dependents and orphans are being normalized instead of sons and daughters being validated. All believers are called to be ministers (2 Corinthians 5:18). Church is supposed to be a place of equipping – not spectating. Because we have a real enemy and we are in a war, we must be in churches of equipping. That is why, if we are casual in our church life, our lives will be a casualty. We have been called to participate with God in building His Kingdom – this is the greatest privilege on earth. After “Pastoring” for a few years, I came to realize that if I wasn’t equipping people to be ministers then I was simply building my kingdom (following) and not our Father’s. I realized that all legitimate ministers were called to equip others and not to grow people to just be their dependents. Dependent upon me for their next meal, their next prophecy, their next prayer, etc. I saw that when “men of God” do this (making dependents instead of equipping ministers), it was out of their own need and insecurity – the need to feel needed by the people and their need for the people to meet their needs. When this attitude exists, it keeps people (and the body) weak and ineffective in the mission of building God’s Kingdom. This is the last thing I want for us at The Presence Dallas or that God wants for the Body of Christ.
What the apostle Paul is teaching us here in Ephesians chapter 4 is that legitimate ministry gifts from God train and equip others to do what they do. In other words, a Pastor TRAINS people to love, shepherd and nurture other people. An Evangelist TRAINS people how to evangelize and reach the lost. An Apostle empowers and TRAINS others in their gifting’s. A true Prophet TRAINS others how to prophecy. What we have settled for in the Body of Christ is “watching” these gifts put on display instead of requiring these gifts to train us. The old saying, “what is more important, giving a man a fish or teaching him how to fish?” This is true concerning the ministry gifts equipping others to be ministers. As a Pastor my first and foremost joy is in providing TRAINING for those under my authority to fulfill the destinies on their lives. The Church is not to be an entertainment center that we attend for our viewing pleasure. It’s to be a TRAINING center, equipping soldiers for the army of God, to fulfill their God ordained destinies. Taking back what the devil has stolen – lives of men, women, boys, and girls.
The apostle Paul teaches us here in Ephesians 4 that the body is made whole by us coming together and each member functioning in their gifting’s. Each of us carry a different expression of who God is, and if you are not present (in church) then you and the body is not as strong as it can be. The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:26, “When you come together (in church), each of you has a song, has a teaching, has a tongue, has an interpretation, a prophecy, a revelation. Let all things be done for edification.” This environment only occurs by us first being equipped and activated to be who God has called us to be in His Kingdom.
I encourage you today to find a Pastor who has a heart to help you find God’s destiny for your life – not his. Every person (believer and unbeliever) has a God-designed destiny and our lives will never be fulfilled until we step into it. I encourage you to not be a spectator but allow yourself to be equipped to be all that God has called you to be. You are an important member of the body and the church is more complete and made stronger by your participation and the expression of who God is through you.
My prayer for you today is that you will sincerely find where you belong and be quipped to fulfill God’s destiny on your life. When you do, you will be so happy that you did.