Sermon Summary

Ephesians 4:11–16 (ESV)

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, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Did you know that church is designed by God to be a training center? Pastor Chris leads us in understanding that in addition to the primary work of sharing the gospel, the practical purpose of the church, as Jesus himself established it, is to equip believers for doing everyday ministry. Leaders in His body are anointed and appointed to help the church know, grow, and go! In this way, the body of Christ grows in maturity and in influence throughout the world. Beyond our individual call to God’s work, is the building up of the body (edification), with the goal of serving everyone in loving unity.

Three Key Factors in Equipping the Church

1.      The church is His body – in the church, God has established offices, or positions of leadership, that help train the saints in doing the work of ministry, these are distinct from spiritual gifts (e.g., prophecy, evangelism, etc.) afforded to all believers. These five offices are commonly called the “Fivefold Ministry of the Church.”

11 And he gave the Apostles, the Prophets, the Evangelists, the Shepherds and Teachers, 12 to equip the saints” Eph. 4:11 (ESV)

The Fivefold Ministry should

·        Equip the believers for works of service.

·        Build up the Body of Believers in growth and maturity.

·        Create unity of faith.

·        Increase in knowledge about God, Jesus and the Kingdom.

·        Grow believers to be mature in their faith with sound doctrine.

·        Develop strong believers who are secure in their faith.

·        Mature the saints to be able to stand in the face of the challenges and deceits of the world.

·        Disciple believers in continual growth with an ever-increasing outward manifestation of love.

2.      His body needs equipping – in providing those who train us, God also established how these leaders should act in their positions. An equipping church is active in four areas: Mending, Teaching, Caring, and Warning. 

“12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” Eph. 12 (ESV)

(Metaphor) The Japanese art of Kintsugi – The image is that of mending broken vessels with gold, so that they serve their purpose, but are more valuable than they were before.

3.      You are called into ministry – every believer is called to minister. This is not relegated to the leaders only; the most effective leaders are those who train and support those in the body of Christ to go out and meet people’s needs. There are two ways that the church is led:

a.      Typical Approach: Pastors -> Minister -> People

b.      Biblical Approach: Pastors -> Prepare -> People -> Minister -> Each other

Three primary activities of leadership: 

  1. Leaders are called to reflect God’s glory. 
  2. Leaders are called to replicate. 
  3. Leaders are called to cultivate

Discussion Questions

1.      What are your thoughts (maybe experience) with viewing the church as a training center? 

How have you been trained by the church – it could be City Central or another?

2.      How do you understand the ‘Fivefold Ministry’ of the church? What about this concept is new to you?

3.      What have you learned from Paul’s instruction to the Ephesian church about how leaders should lead?

Application Questions

1.      In what ways can you/do you see yourself walking in your calling to minister?

2.      Thinking about how God can use you to meet needs in the church, list some training/equipping you would like from church: