Article By Ana Redding
Often when we talk about church health, the illustration of the human body is used. But sometimes I like to think of the church as an orchestra. Imagine an orchestra playing at a concert hall. Imagine the music, the sound, the depth of every note resonating through your being. In that performance, every musician plays their instrument to their fullest and in perfect harmony. Each member of the orchestra performing to the best of their ability so that each instrument is heard to create the fullness of the experience of that piece. And only through the full participation of each musician is the mastery of the composer revealed.
I have recently started taking some of the church leaders training courses available on pastorscoach.com. Every time I listen to Michael Brodeur’s insight, rooted in a sincere and deep relationship with Jesus, a solid knowledge of the scripture and profound experiential wisdom, I feel like I am receiving life-giving, mind-renewing nuggets that are forever changing the way I view the Church and my personal input into it. One of the things that gripped me the most was the realisation of the misunderstanding that many churches have fallen into, and have continued to perpetuate, regarding the fivefold ministry gifts or offices. It has become all about the titles and the ‘badges’ when it was originally and perfectly planned by God as a strategy for growth and multiplication. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers, pastors are called to equip the saints for the works of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12). We are not all apostles but we can all be trained and equipped to be more apostolic. The same is true for all the other gifts. We can also operate in more than one gift. When we put God-in-us in a box, rigid and monochrome, we will never be able to show the world a true picture of Jesus.
In this biblical recipe for growth, empowerment and efficiency, the pursuit of some gifts that connect us more deeply to the heart and voice of God is encouraged. But the operation of all five gifts, in a balanced way, is necessary to represent and express the fullness of Christ. Balanced in this context doesn’t mean average, neutral, placid, passionless or held-back. On the contrary, it means diversity in unity, like different ingredients evenly mixed in the dough so that the final outcome rises to its full potential with great nutritious value, enticing scent and delicious taste.
The plan was all along to have a Church where everyone is a royal priest, fully engaged, activated, mobilised and empowered to mobilise and empower others to fully represent Christ to the world around them (which was supposed to be one of the main premises of the Reformation). Unfortunately, that is not yet the reality in the majority of the churches around the globe. There is still the belief (and its practical application) that the ones that are called and ordained for one of these offices are the ones responsible to “do all the ministry work” while the vast majority of the believers become passive receivers or consumers. The result is a passive church which focuses mainly on self-maintenance or self-preservation and therefore has no relevance or significant impact in their community. Our primary mission is to make Christ not only visible but known. True knowledge requires understanding and experience. Each one of us is meant to be a living, breathing, walking, talking, illustrated page of the Word of God, the only Bible that non-churchgoers are going to read while running around, tackling the business of life. Personal transformation, when lived out, eventually leads to societal transformation. This is not just an idealistic theory. There are countless examples of profound societal transformation in the History of Revival.
All around the world there is a stirring happening in the Body of Christ. A realisation that we are to preach and to live not only the ‘Gospel of the church’ but the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’. In the Kingdom of God, every person is invited and empowered to step into the fullness of who God created them to be, and to do the good works that reveal the Goodness of God and fill the earth with the knowledge of His glory. Let’s pray for more apostles, teachers, evangelists, prophets, pastors with the resolve to not let them carry their torches on their own. They are limited in the number of miles they can healthily progress in a solitary race. Let’s pray they grow in confidence in their identity as sons and daughters of God, accepted and established in His Perfect Love and not searching for validation through performance and self-promotion. It is when church leaders pass the torch over and over again that we become stronger, more effective and faster to reach the final destination: burning brighter together, to dispel the darkness and open people’s eyes to the Truth, and in doing so, bringing Heaven to Earth.