Part 3: The church's role in making disciples

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 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, 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. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 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.
— Ephesians 4:11-16

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What was the point of Jesus spending three and a half years with the twelve disciples? Why did Paul spend years with the Ephesian elders? Why does Hope Fellowship write blogs, recommend books, and spend time studying the word together? The answer is so that we can be equipped to do the work of ministry.

What is the work of ministry? The work of ministry is the work of making, maturing, and multiplying disciples of Jesus. In our last two posts, we have talked about what it means to be a disciple and how we make disciples. Now, we have arrived at the conclusion of our three part blog series where we will answer the question, what is the church's role in making disciples? 

The church's role in making disciples is to create an environment in which people can grow in their walk with Jesus and receive training on how to love and walk alongside other Christ followers.  

In essence, the church exists to serve God's people. We serve one another by using our gifts to come alongside each other and equip one another with truth so that we can pass that truth along and effectively care for other believers. 

When you read the verses above, it is clear that Paul does not expect for one person to do all the work. The practice of the modern church has been to hire "Christian professionals" who do all the work while the rest of the church simply consumes all the information about Jesus that the "professionals" put before them. Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with a church having leaders  that have acquired education, experience, and expertise in ministry. In fact, that offers a church many benefits. I am saying that if these individuals are the only ones doing the work of ministry, a church is not living out the communal nature God intended for it to have. 

The question then becomes how has God gifted you, and do you feel equipped to use those gifts to participate in the work of making disciples? If your answer is yes, Hope Fellowship needs you. If your answer is no, don't worry. There is hope. Whether your answer to the question was yes or no,  your in luck because equipping you and releasing you to use your gifts is a priority that has been set at Hope for 2018. Let's do the work together because without you, the work cannot be done!