Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. Acts 20:28
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 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, Ephesians 4:11-13.
God gave shepherds to the church as a gift to care for the church of God (Acts 20:28). God gave shepherds to the church to equip the church of God. Equip it for what? The work of the ministry so that the church may be built up into Christ and attain his fullness.
Here at Grace we have defined a disciple as someone who is learning to depend on the indwelling life of Christ in order to love like Christ and live like Christ. That is, as Ephesians 4:13 says, a disciple is attaining to mature manhood in knowledge and unity of the faith. A disciple is full of Christ and his life.
Your pastors want nothing more than to equip you. To see you become a disciple making disciple. To see you love like Jesus and live like Jesus. To see his life, his character, his responses flow out of you from his indwelling fullness. To see you live the abundant life full of peace, joy, love, gentleness, self-control, patience, and godly sorrow. We want to equip you for deed ministry and word ministry. This is what we live and breathe.
But what about you? What has been your response to your pastors? Have you shown a desire to be equipped? Do you seek further equipping? Do you know how to “build up the body?” Is this a priority for you?
We seek advancement in almost every other area of life. If you are a student you are going to class with the objective of being equipped for a career. If you are in a career you seek further training and opportunity for promotion. If you are a stay at home mom you seek resources on parenting and buy equipment to help you with the kids. If you are an athlete or musician you practice your craft over and over and seek out instructors or coaches.
But when it comes to our church life, our spiritual life, we become stagnant. We are content to play church and listen to our pastors preach a sermon once a week but do we honestly believe that this is what our Savior died for?
The radical response to your pastors is to continually seek equipping. This is what builds Christ’s body. This is how you can honor Christ. We submit to Jesus by submitting to his church. We love Jesus by loving his church.
So how can you be equipped?
1. Volunteer to serve- Join a ministry team. Lead a group. Help in a classroom.
2. Come to the volunteer training sessions- This is an opportunity to get trained in ministry, to hear from other volunteers and ministry leaders, to grow in your faith and your knowledge.
3. Connect to a group- Join a small group. Start a small group. Join a Sunday morning ABC class. Being connected to other Christians will equip you for ministry. It will allow you to build up the body in unique ways.
4. Take 2 Squared- 2 Squared is a discipleship equipping course that teaches you the gospel and then trains you to use the gospel to guide others through suffering and sin to our Savior. Click here to watch a short video about 2 Squared.
5. Take an elective class at Grace- More and more we will be offering electives at Grace. These electives will seek to equip you for ministry in the three big spheres of life: Church, Family, World. Topics such as prayer, relational evangelism, marriage, singleness, work, and culture will be addressed. We will be announcing our summer electives soon.
6. Attend worship service- The corporate worship service is not just a box to check off each week. It is an equipping ministry. It is the primary way that your pastors seek to equip the body in gospel truths that unite us. Go back and read Ephesians 4:11-13. Paul says that pastors are to equip the body until we all attain the unity of the faith. That is the goal of Sunday mornings. If you are absent you are not being equipped for unity nor are you equipping others for unity in the faith.
Your pastors have a radical calling. Will you have a radical response?