In a previous article, I presented the idea of an “Everyday Minister” being all followers of Jesus Christ. Not only are pastors, “ministers”, but so are church members. The only difference is the specific calling of the pastors to equip the saints for the work of ministry. In this article, my hope is to provide some biblical and practical ways in which a pastor accomplishes the charge presented in Ephesians 4:12-13.
“equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.”
This calling is essentially explained in one simple command by Jesus, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” I want to present six ways that a pastor can prepare their church members for the work of ministry.
First, teach and preach the word of God. – 1 Timothy 3:16-17
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ” 1 Timothy 3:16-17
When observing Paul’s words to young Timothy, it is clear that Paul was declaring to him the importance of scripture. When thinking of how a pastor equips the saints for the work of ministry it must start with the right preaching and teaching of God’s word. For this is what truly prepares an individual to accomplish the mission that Christ has given all of those who believe in His name. God’s word teaches, rebukes, corrects, and trains an individual for every good work. So pastors, faithfully preach and teach the word of God to your congregation.
Second, teach them how to share the Gospel. – 1 Peter 3:15
“but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in you.” 1 Peter 3:15
In Peter’s letter, he charged the church be ready to give a defense to anyone that asks for the hope that is in them. As believers, our hope is found in Christ and Christ alone. The issue though, is that most do not know how to present the hope of the Gospel. Thus they need someone to teach them how to do so. So pastors, teach those in your congregation how to present the hope that is in them.
Third, teach them how to make disciples. – Matthew 28:19
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19
What I find so significant but misunderstood about this scripture is that Christ never calls us to make “converts”, rather make disciples. Thus, if a pastor only teaches their congregation to share the Gospel rather than how to make disciples as well, they are doing a disservice to the members. It is crucial that a pastor equip their congregation to make disciples. So pastors, teach those in your church to make disciples.
Fourth, encourage your church members. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“ Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Though, this particular verse does not specifically address the idea of a pastor encouraging their congregation to do the work of ministry. It seems to speak openly about believers encouraging one another. I want to present the thought, that a pastor is to not only encourage their congregation to do the work of ministry but also when the work gets hard and difficult. So pastors, encourage your congregation to do the work of ministry and to continue to do the work even when it gets difficult.
Fifth, be an example. – Titus 2:7
“In everything. Make yourself an example of good works with integrity and dignity in your teaching.” Titus 2:7
In Paul’s letter to Titus, we see that he calls him to be an example of good work in his teaching. But who was he to be an example for? To everyone that is watching and listening to his teaching. As a pastor, you are to be an example to those in the congregation. Not that pastors will be perfect, but that they are an example of ministry to the people that sit under their teaching. So pastors, be an example of one that does the work of ministry to those that you are called to equip for the work of ministry.
Sixth, trust in God to accomplish the mission. Acts 1:8
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
In Acts 1:8, we see one account of the mission that Christ gave to the disciples, as well all believers. He first explains that the power to accomplish this mission would come unto them when the Holy Spirit came upon them. Thus, we can only accomplish this mission, the work of ministry, by being empowered by the Holy Spirit. Pastors, understand that God will accomplish His will and mission in all circumstances. As you seek to equip the saints for ministry, trust In Him. Also, make this clear to the saint that their strength is from the Holy Spirit, thus all they can do is faithfully share the gospel and makes disciples. For God is the complete author of salvation, we are just mere instruments of God. So pastors, trust in God as you seek to accomplish His mission.
Finally, pastors, take your calling seriously. God has invited you to be a part of His mission to reach the world around you.
Check out this blog post on Discipleship: