1. DIVERSION FROM PRIMARY CALLING:
“We have undiscipled church because the leaders have not made discipleship their primary focus.”-Greg Ogden
Most people in the church expect to receive care from their pastors. In fact pastoral care is rated the highest on the list of pastoral duties from both the perspective of pastors and congregations. This focus on pastoral care by pastors differs from what the apostle Paul seems to be saying in Ephesians 4:11-16. Before running through the list debating the nature of different offices and ministries as is often the case, we need to ask why these roles are important. According to Paul, the goal is Christian maturity (v.13).
From the passage, we learn that Christians must grow up to maturity. Having seen Jesus exemplify for us what it means to be mature, we are not to rest until we have attained that goal. Paul did not want Ephesian Christians to remain immature, because such a state would make them vulnerable to all kinds of deception that might lead them astray. He brings together three ideas in verse 14; babies, a rudderless boat being tossed about on a stormy sea, and deceitful scheming trickeries. All these situations add up to show the vulnerabilities of immature Christians. In contrast, maturity includes learning to “speak the truth in love” and “growing up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” In sum, as we mature, we become members of Christ’s body in practice. The question is how has Christ provided for this process? Once we realize that the passage is all about the whole body of Christ, and each member of it, coming to maturity, we are in a better position to understand the ministries in verse 11. The main point of certain people having special roles is so that every single Christian, and the church as a whole, may be equipped for their work of service. Ogden writes, “Pastors are consumed with pastoral care, but how does caring for those in need equip the saints for works of service?” Take some time around your table and discuss this situation, do you agree or disagree with this statement, state why you agree or disagree. What are the implications here for you as a small group leader?
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