It is a beautiful thing when a church becomes contagious. A congregation that increasingly reflects the image of Christ becomes more and more attractive to the unchurched.
Ephesians 4:13-16 speaks of the church growing into the full measure of the stature of Christ. This prospering of the church takes place when the individual believers are all contributing to church development according to each one’s God given design. What sets the stage for this to happen? – – Simply this — Empowering Leadership.
This Ephesians passage puts it right out there. God gives gifted leaders for one reason. And that reason is to empower others to fulfill their God given role in church development. Church leaders can and do have many responsibilities. But the heart of the matter is simply this — equip the saints to do the work of ministry in building the church. When leaders practice this “bottom up” leadership approach, the church looks more and more like Jesus in the world. When Jesus is seen for who he really is, he draws people to himself. All people are made by him, and for him and the deepest longing of the human heart is to find rest through intimacy with him.
Jesus has a plan for the church to prosper and that plan is the spiritual gifts of his people. If you are a church leader, equip the saints. If you are a follower, use your gifts to build the church. It is really as simple as that. And…if your leader is not empowering you in this way, find a leader who is.
The Principle Applied
Last Sunday evening I had the privilege of using my spiritual gifts to help build the church. I led a group of leaders from Vineyard Church Baton Rouge through exercises to identify core values and from these to craft a mission statement. I was impressed about how eagerly this group engaged the work on this discovery process.
Delores and I love to say — the body of Christ is really smart. The mind of all of us together is better than any one mind. And, when people are given a voice — they really shine.
This verse comes to mind as I reflect on these things. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain”. I Corinthians 15:58
My exhortation to you — use your spiritual gifts to help build the church. Research shows that you will be happier and more contented if you do.