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Leadership means equipping others – Pt 1

Leadership means equipping others – Pt 1
Posted on February 5, 2021  - By Dr. Alexander Kurian

False ministry patterns abound in Christendom today. Ephesians 4:11-13 outlines the proper pattern of ministry (service) which God has established. 

This pattern follows a three-fold process:

1. Gifted leaders (evangelists, pastors and teachers) are responsible for the equipping of the saints/ shaping up the saints. The spiritual gifts Paul names here are those which are necessary and essential for all other gifts and ministries.

The apostles and prophets have laid the foundation of the church and ministry by inscripturating the teaching and doctrine of our Lord (Ephesians 2:20; 3:5). Evangelists proclaim the gospel defined by the apostles and prophets. Pastors and teachers shepherd, teach and guide the people of God.

It is said that evangelists are the obstetricians of the faith and pastors and teachers are the pediatricians. All Christian ministries are dependent upon the operation of these gifts.

2. The well-equipped saints do the work of service. The saints are the ones doing the work of service. They are equipped, prepared, and trained for this task by gifted men in leadership and shepherding roles.

 3. As a result, the body of Christ is built up, resulting in maturity, truth and love. All Christians have spiritual gifts that should be used in serving one another. The New Testament assumes that all Christians will share in the work of service. All are in the work of the Lord; in ministry.

The diversity of gifts serves to bring about the unity of the body of Christ.

All Christians have spiritual gifts that should be used in serving one another

 Points to ponder

  •  Christianity is not a spectator sport. Saints are not called to watch the pastor do the ministry. It is easy to fall into the pattern of hiring professionals and leaving God’s work to them. All Christians are called to do the work of service. At the same time, the place of gifted leaders in the assembly should be recognised and honoured. They have a prominent role in the church in shaping up the saints.
  • Spiritual leaders are equipping leaders. This is their only ministry (equipping the saints) mentioned in Ephesians 4. It will be a fatal error if they fail in this role and responsibility. In our zeal for anti-clericalism, we sometimes minimise or even neglect the importance of equipping leaders. Have we taken things to the other extreme? By ignoring God’s pattern of ministry, a claim for New Testament pattern has no real validity.
  • It is important to know your spiritual gifts and find your place of service. You are called to serve. The contribution you personally make to the body of Christ through the exercise of your spiritual gifts is of immense value to the church.
  • Spiritual gifts are given not for self-enjoyment or self-edification, but for the edification of the body of Christ — to facilitate the ministry of the church.
  • Being equipped for ministry includes learning truth and gaining skills. It also includes a passion for service shaped by dependence on the Lord. We are here to carry on Christ’s work. The church needs more disciple makers. Are you a disciple maker?

Do you feel that a keen sense of awareness of the Ephesians 4 pattern of equipping and edification is needed in your assembly? What action plans can you take to implement what this passage teaches?

(Editor’s note: This post is the first in a series of four articles on leadership and mentoring in the context of a church. Part 2 will be out next week. Watch this space!)

Dr. Alexander Kurian

About Dr. Alexander Kurian

Alexander Kurian has been committed to the proclamation of the gospel for over 40 years. He has a passion to be conservative in guarding God’s revelation and radical in our application of it in a postmodern world. To that end, he is currently involved in a global ministry of teaching, training and equipping.



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