[“Church Without…” is a series of think-pieces designed to slowly deconstruct what we think is essential to having church and to call attention to the hidden barriers we’ve erected between ourselves and the Great Commission.]
As a pastor, one of the great stumbling blocks to doing my job is people not understanding what my job is. Ephesians 4 says this:
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors, and teachers…”
And so many Christians stop there.
“Jesus gave us the pastor, and the pastor teaches us about Jesus. The pastor introduces my friends to Jesus, and the pastor visits and prays with my family when they’re in the hospital.” That’s what many people think, and they’re not totally wrong. But they are missing a huge part of the reason why God gave leaders to the Church.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Leaders were given to local churches not to do everyone for the people but to teach, train, and assist them so that they could do for themselves.
I’m a public school teacher, and I’m not going to follow my seniors to college. Even my sophomores, once they leave my world history class are on their own… unless they are then enrolled in my US history class the following year.
Why is that we assume that our pastors should be following us around at all times, making sure that we reading our Bibles, saying our prayers, and not doing anything too naughty?
How could pastors leverage the internet to further equip their people so that discipleship ceases to be a nebulous concept that we hope is taking place for ninety minutes each Sunday morning? My church has flirted with various techniques to use the internet as a discipleship tool, and we’re constantly looking for more. We haven’t found the resource or method, but we are communicating the message to our people that we, their pastors, are here to help and guide them as they grow so that they would be equipped to do the work of Jesus.