There were two conversations I had today about two hours apart that landed in the same arena. Both conversations dealt with issues in the Church. But the conversations centered on manifestations of the Church here and then halfway around the world. The issue was the same. Dysfunction in the Body of Christ.
The key word in that first paragraph is “Body”. In Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 we read not only about the gifts with which the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit give to the Church but why and how they are supposed to be used. In each case the gifts are given not to edify the individual with the gift but to build up others in the Body of Christ. The Ephesians passage tells us the reason, the purpose of the gifts, and the intended result…
…to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Ephesians 4:12 – 16
The problem both conversations dealt with was the reality that this is not happening in the churches very much. Equipping is more than lecture. It is more than a 20 minute message once a week. Think about how you were equipped for your work. If you were like most people you got much more instruction than a 20 minute message once a week. You were also tested on what you learned. You were observed. You got feedback on how you were doing. I do not know of one church that trains leaders or engages the gifts of their people in this manner. That doesn’t mean they do not exist. But it does mean that I have never heard of or encountered one.
The Result of Dysfunction
The result is that the leaders are doing and are expected to do the ministry. After all that is what they are hired to do, isn’t it? The problem is that is not what the Word says they are supposed to do. So we end up with pastors and staff that are stretched really thin. We end up with churches that Prof likened to a football game, with 80,000 people in the stands who are desperately in need of exercise, watching 22 people on the field who are in desperate need of rest.
These things ought not to be.