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Leadership means equipping others – Pt 2

Leadership means equipping others – Pt 2
Posted on February 12, 2021  - By Dr. Alexander Kurian

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the three-fold process involved in the pattern of leadership ministry.

The ministries of the church too are primarily three-fold: (i) toward God: exaltation (worship), (ii) toward itself: edification, and (iii) toward the world: evangelisation.

The process of edification

​The main focus of Ephesians 4:11-16 is edification (building up). But the effect of edification will be reflected in exaltation (worship) and evangelisation. Edification is primarily concerned with the building and developing of the community itself in the life of faith. Hence, it is related to outward growth as well as inward growth.

‘Equipping’ and ‘edifying’ are the key terms in this passage. Equipping that leads to service and to building up is the progression of the pattern God has given for leadership ministry.

  • The work of edification is ultimately accomplished by the Lord of the Church.
  • It takes place through the special ministries of the equipping leaders.
  • It is carried out through every equipped believer.
  • As each member receives edification through the pastoral ministry, he, in turn, passes it on to his fellow believer.
  • Thus, “when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:16b).
  • Genuine edification can only be accomplished in love (Ephesians 4:16) and peace (Romans 14:19). “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding (Romans 14:19).
  • Biblical church growth results from the responsible ministry (service) involvement of every member of the body fully using his/her spiritual gifts.
  • Edification should lead to maturity or completeness in Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

Biblical church growth results from… every member of the body fully using his/her spiritual gifts

 The results of edification (Ephesians 4:13-16)

  1. Unity of the faith – doctrinal unity (v.13).
  2. Knowledge of the Son of God – deeper and intimate knowledge of Christ (v.13).
  3. Spiritual maturity – growth and maturity to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (v.13).
  4. Doctrinal stability – knowledge and conviction of God’s truth (v.14).
  5. Loving testimony – speaking and acting truthfully, reflecting the practice of the doctrine professed (v.15).
  6. Comprehensive Christlikeness – in attitudes and actions (v.15)
  7. Submission to the Lordship of Christ – completely yielded and obedient to the Lord (v.15).
  8. The ultimate growth of the body – spiritual growth in the church.

Discipleship and church growth

Discipleship has both a personal and corporate dimension. 

On a personal level, discipleship means following Christ faithfully, sacrificially, obediently, and learning to progressively bring all of one’s life under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

In the corporate dimension, discipleship is a developmental process of the local church by which Christians are equipped and edified and are brought from spiritual infancy to maturity, so that they can reproduce the process with others. This results in the dynamic growth and blessing of the body of Christ. 

Discipleship is a process of the local church by which Christians are brought from spiritual infancy to maturity, so they can reproduce the process with others

Thus, the church will be able to effectively carry out the three-fold ministries of exaltation (worship), edification, and evangelism. God has placed us in a body of people so that we can minister to the heart of God (worship), to one another (edification), and to the world (evangelism and missions).

The concept of discipleship is so big that when we are obedient to God’s pattern of service as revealed in His Word, the church will impact the world.

Points to ponder

  • Consider all the ‘one another’ statements in the New Testament and see how it helps you to edify others practically. Are you an edifier?
  • How does the principle of edification help in the three-fold ministries of the church?
  • Disciple-making is the distinctive mission of the church. How can you practically accomplish this mission in your context?
  • What will you and the leadership do differently in your assembly to accomplish edification in a consistent manner? How can you recognise a mature church?
  • “Be careful how you build!” A church can be weak and immature if built by wood, hay and stubble. Or it can be strong and mature – composed of gold, silver and precious stones (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

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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