Whose Job is It?
By Certified Church Consultant, Dr. Michael Rackley
A story was told about “Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.”
As we look at the challenges of the church today and assess/survey believers being equipped in the local church, the question often comes up, “whose job is it to develop, train, and equip believers for ministry?”
The Bible answers this question in Ephesians 4:11-17:
“And [His gifts to the church were varied and] He Himself appointed some as apostles [special messengers, representatives], some as prophets [who speak a new message from God to the people], some as evangelists [who spread the good news of salvation], and some as pastors and teachers [to shepherd and guide and instruct], [and He did this] to fully equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service, to build up the body of Christ [the church]; until we all reach oneness in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, [growing spiritually] to become a mature believer, reaching to the measure of the fullness of Christ [manifesting His spiritual completeness and exercising our spiritual gifts in unity].”
Feelings of inadequacy or the case of the jitters seem to be keeping many Christians from sharing their faith with others, according to a new report by Barna Research from December 2020 to January 2021. In this same article entitled Most Christians don’t feel adequate for sharing their faith or making disciples, “not feeling qualified or equipped (37%) is the main barrier” to faith-sharing, along with disinterest in disciple-making or a fear of not being good at it, of not having enough knowledge, or of being the wrong person for the job.
Leadership expert John Maxwell says, “everything rises and falls on leadership.” When a football team has multiple losing seasons, the leadership is usually the first to go. When a president loses an election, the president and the cabinet are first to go.
The Bible is clear in Ephesians 4:11-12 (AMP) that Jesus gave gifts (or rather gifted believers) to the church and appointed them,
- “Some as apostles [special messengers, representatives]
- Some as prophets [who speak a new message from God to the people]
- Some as evangelists [who spread the good news of salvation]
- Some as pastors and teachers [to shepherd and guide and instruct]”
The purpose of these gifted leaders is to “equip” men and women for the work of the ministry, so they may train others. In other words, disciples make disciples. The word “equip” in Ephesians 4:12 is the Greek noun (katarismos) which is complete perfecting or equipping, as a verb in (katartizo) is also used in Matthew 4:21 as mending or preparing nets. Together gifted leaders are responsible to equip (teaching and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ) men and women for the work of the ministry for building up the Body of Christ.
Equipping is a tough job, as well as shepherding. The leaders are to equip others for ministry. Paul explains the goal for the shepherd (Eph. 4:12) and the goal of the sheep (4:13), then describes the result (4:14-16).
Here is a list of a few gifts’ leaders must give their people if they wish to equip them:
- I must be trained, to train them.
- I must have a plan for discipling believers in the church.
- I must teach sound doctrine, be biblically based, theologically sound, culturally relevant, and Christ-centered.
- I must love and care for the sheep, as well as build a team to assist.
- I must work on their weaknesses but work on their strengths.
- I must make expectations clear.
- I must become a resource person (atmosphere, training, support, tools).
Church leaders must “equip” believers, and give away the ministry, so they may do the work of the ministry by using their spiritual gifting to glorify Christ and edify one another.