LOCAL CHURCHES MAKE FULL USE OF THE RESOURCES GOD MAKES AVAILABLE
Further to my blog this morning regarding God opening a door for me. I began to meditate on a couple of awesome truths that were in the heart of God in eternity past.
Firstly, God knew Adam and Eve would sin, but in eternity past He created a plan, to deal with man’s sin, by sending His son Jesus, to take the Father’s wrath and deal with God’s justice, and for Jesus to shed His sinless blood that we could be cleansed and forgiven.
Then I began to meditate on what Paul’ called a “mystery” . Again in eternity past God saw Believers when they are born again are placed in the Body of Christ The Church. Then this Church would have millions of expressions in what we call the local church, which in the New Testament were autonomous, but not independent, but interdependent. but where every believer must be planted in a local church (there are no lone rangers in the Body of Christ). In that local church the believer finds:
Discipleship so he can grow in grace
Teaching to help him understand what the Bible says and what the believer’s inheritance is in Christ.
Discipline if required
Fellowship and friendship
The New Testament local church is to be led by a plural team of Leaders (Elders), with a set man the captain or chief Elder or Pastor. These Elders set the vision for the church and their varying ministries working together seek to fulfil that God given Biblical vision.
But then, the Lord knew that local churches would need additional assistance by what I called travelling ministries (the Ephesians 4:11 fivefold ministry gifts. Let me start by saying that these 5 ministries, must also be planted in a local church, but the local leadership recognise they are gifts to the whole Body of Christ and are released to fulfil their special purpose of blessing and ministering to local churches. Even the local Pastor must be released from time to time to minister to other Pastors and local churches.
The New Testament APOSTLE had numerous local churches relating to him, seeking his guidance and wisdom and counsel, Oh how local churches in the 21st century need to have Apostolic oversight
The New Testament PROPHET did not major in foretelling but telling forth such as , exhorting, encouraging, rebuking and speaking into the life of the local church. Oh how local churches need to recognise and relate and respond to the Prophet’s ministry.
The New Testament EVANGELIST had according to Eph. 4:12 a twofold ministry to be a “mass evangelist” and see many people come to Christ through the local church, but also to train God’s people to be “personal evangelists”. Oh how local churches need to recognise and utilise Evangelists. In my last church, no one on the Leadership Team was strong in evangelism, so two or three times a year, I would invite an Evangelist to come and conduct a crusade in the local church, encouraging the people to bring their unsaved friends to church, and praying for them, and expecting them to respond to the Evangelist’s ministry. Oh how we need to see more Evangelists recognised and functioning especially through local churches
The New Testament TEACHER like Paul & Barnabas spent considerable time in the local church (Antioch) they were both later recognised as APOSTLES, but then moved out on their journeys to teach in local churches. In larger local churches Believers may have the privilege of a resident Teacher, but again, in my last two churches (as I understood the Biblical pattern better) would invite a teacher to come and do a teaching series. Oh how we need to see more Teachers ministering in local churches
I think there are PASTORS, who are also Pastors to Pastors, as every ministry needs to relate to someone, for counsel and accountability. Lord raise up more Pastors (Shepherds) in our day,
Sadly, there are many people going around calling themselves Apostles & Prophets, titles to me are not very important, simply let a man’s ministry make room for him, let others discern his ministry gifting.
I have written this blog to remind believers and local churches, that God has set in the Body of Christ ministries to assist the local church and local church leadership to build the church “according to the pattern of the Word of God”. I am not suggesting that I or the other two ministries I mentioned in my last blog are special, but simply seeking to fulfil the New Testament pattern of seeing a local church come to maturity.
Some of my statements above will make you think, some may be new concepts for you, please feel free to respond and comment.