Posted On May 15, 2019

Ephesians 4:12-13, “To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

What does “the work of ministry” look like?

In our little church, “the work of ministry” looks like making coffee, clicking powerpoints, opening doors, and greeting strangers and friends alike. It looks like planning crafts and arranging snacks. It looks like wiping noses and playing with blocks. It looks like preaching and singing and praying for one another. I imagine one hundred pairs of hands at work each Sunday. Whatever our “work of ministry” may look like to human eyes, what we’re actually doing is “building up the body of Christ.”

After Jesus ascended, he gave us apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers (v. 11) to equip us to do the work of ministry. The building of the body of Christ is a collaborative effort, requiring a variety of different gifts. As each person uses their gifts to do “the work of ministry,” we all grow towards full maturity together. What is striking about this passage is the way it celebrates both the collaborative nature of the work and the collaborative payoff of corporate maturity. As those with a gift for teaching get opportunities to teach, we all “attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God.” Even though teaching takes a central role in our Sunday service (and deservedly so!), the ultimate purpose of this teaching is to equip us all to do “the work of ministry,” even the behind-the-scenes work that can so easily be taken for granted.

None of that work is wasted, though. Somehow, even when our contribution to the Sunday service may not look like much, God joins our work together with the work of all the other saints in order to build us all up toward maturity. When we work together, we grow together. We all mature.

Our aspiration is to reach “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Jesus Christ represents to us what full maturity looks like, but the goal is not to race towards maturity as a personal achievement. We reach that maturity as a church, using our gifts to encourage and teach one another. We don’t use our gifts to train ourselves. As much as we have may have learned from the spiritual journey of Pilgrim’s Progress, we should not conclude that the way to Christian maturity is ultimately a solo trip. Instead, we are to seek to attain maturity together. Only as the body of Christ can we reach “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

This means that “the work of ministry” includes tenderness towards the young, mercy for the weak, and service for our siblings in Christ as we press on together.

Related Posts

Deborah Howard- HELP! Someone I Love Has Alzheimer’s

Deborah Howard- HELP! Someone I Love Has Alzheimer’s

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave and Deborah Howard discuss Christian friendship and support in and out of the local church, advice for family members and friends with family or friends who have memory loss, the local church, and supporting family members...

When Sinful Comparison Rears Its Ugly Head, Draw Near to Jesus

When Sinful Comparison Rears Its Ugly Head, Draw Near to Jesus

I’d done it again. It was subtle, and neither my husband nor any of our five children sitting in the car with me knew what I had done. That’s how sneaky sinful comparison can be. While reading during a long road trip, right in the middle of a well-crafted sentence in...

The Jews and the Resurrection

The Jews and the Resurrection

Romans 11:13-15, “13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the...

Riches for the World

Riches for the World

Romans 11:11-12, “11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means...

Why God Forgets Our Sins

Why God Forgets Our Sins

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “Does God forget our sins?” What you’ll hear in this episode The Lord Forgives and Forgets Our Sin. The Christian and Assurance. Forgiveness and Assurance. The Apostles Creed and Forgiveness. Micah and...

0 Comments

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Five Key Connections: Ministry, Paul, and more | Unlocking the Bible - […] The Work of Ministry (Laura Lundgren, Servants of Grace) […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share35
Tweet10
Reddit
Email
Buffer