God, our Father not only has given special gifts to individuals, but Christ has given gifted people to the church. They aren’t special in themselves; it’s the call of God which makes them special. The person becomes the gift. Ephesians 4:7-16 There are five ministry gifts Paul lists: apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. Each of these offices require a call from Jesus. They’re job descriptions of what He’s called us to do. Christ makes no mistakes when He calls someone into ministry, because He enables those He calls. The apostle Paul gives six purposes for the ministry gifts.
There’s a common misconception that the ministry gifts are supposed to do the work of ministry, but that isn’t what this verse says. It says the first priority for the ministry gifts is equipping the saints to do the work. The leader’s greatest responsibility is training others how to minister. Our job as spiritual leaders is equipping them, and the best way to train others is by our example. This is on-the-job training. There’s a limit to what leaders can do alone, but the power of multiplication when they train others to do the work of ministry is unlimited. Too many leaders are spending too much time doing the work instead of training others how to do it. It’s impossible for a leader to fulfill the call of God alone.
Discord is one of the great problems in life. Ever since the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the world has struggled with the problem of multiple wills. Before they sinned in the garden there was only one will on planet earth which was the will of God, but now every person discovers his own will at approximately age two and begins pulling for his way. We all want to be the boss. Colossians 3:18-20 One of the priorities of leadership is to create an atmosphere of peace where God is the authority. “Where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” James 3:16 The devil loves to create an atmosphere of confusion to do his dirty work. Until we are ready to submit to God’s authority, we’re cursed to struggle with the rebellion in our spirit, and Satan always takes advantage of our rebellious nature to entice us to sin. Leadership must have the authority to produce unity, because without unity it’s impossible to lead.
Growing older isn’t the same as growing up. Many people continue to repeat their past mistakes. Maturity is revealed by fruitfulness. We’ve begun to grow up when we learn from our mistakes and take responsibility for our actions. It’s childish immaturity to continue blaming others for our mistakes. The purpose of childhood is to bring us into adulthood, but children who are left to themselves will self-destruct. They need the wisdom of spiritual fathers and mothers to bring them into maturity.
The body isn’t whole until every joint and part is working properly. A healthy body is both fruitful and productive. Paul speaks about joints. A joint is where two or more parts of the body come together. The “joint supplies” what the body needs to make it whole. Science has confirmed it’s at the joints of our bones where new blood is released from the bone marrow into the body. A joint is a place of communication. Good leadership creates good communication for the body. When communication breaks down it’s impossible for the body to function properly.
Good leaders are interested in more than works, they want effective works, and the only way to have effective works is if every part is working. Paul says, “By which every part does its share.” This should be the goal of leadership, to get every part of the body working properly. The problem for most churches is a few people are doing too much while the majority are doing too little. We need to enlist more members to do their share of the work. Good leadership begins training new people the moment they receive Christ to do the work of the ministry.
When each part is working effectively, the body grows naturally. Leaders can’t force the body to grow, but there are things they can do which produce a healthy body. Things which are alive and healthy are growing. Growth means change, and change means risk, stepping from the known into the unknown. There are many different areas where we should be growing, but if we aren’t growing it’s a good sign we are dying.