11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.Ephesians 4:11-12
Each of the ministries that Paul lists serve different functions. For example, the apostolic ministry’s purpose was to take the good news of Jesus Christ where it had not been heard, which is the role of today’s missionaries. Evangelists, such as the great Reverend Billy Graham, consistently preach the gospel, the message of salvation that came through Jesus’s redeeming work on the cross.
Pastors serve as the Lord’s under-shepherds to guide, lead and teach God’s people. The teaching ministry teaches the doctrine of God’s word so believers can learn, grow, and apply its principles to everyday life. The list that Paul gives does not suggest an order of importance but that each ministry is necessary to the health and function of the church.
Furthermore, Paul’s list is not all-encompassing, for there are many other ministries in which believers can faithfully serve the Lord and His church. For example, there are men’s and women’s ministries, but the ladies at my church prefer the name Women on Mission, which I like. Why? Because it conveys the understanding that they are women of action who actively seek ways to serve others and God.
There are outreach ministries to serve our community and reach the lost with the gospel. There are children’s ministries that guide and teach young impressionable minds about God, His word, and how to live in this fallen world. There are music ministries where brothers and sisters come together to lift the name of God on high in song, to inspire and prepare our hearts to go into God’s presence. There are kitchen ministries that serve to feed and satisfy people’s physical hunger so their minds would be open to hearing God’s word to satisfy their spiritual hunger. The point is there is a wide range of ministry opportunities in which we can participate according to the gifts imparted to us by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit gives every born-again believer a spiritual gift or gifts. No one can say he or she is without a ministry because everyone has a calling, a ministry in which to evangelize, share the gospel, and make disciples. Therefore, no matter where you work or what job title you carry, that is your mission field to share the gospel and disciple others. The opportunity for Christians to exercise their spiritual gifts is not limited to roles within the church. We need Christian doctors, Christian lawyers, Christian farmers, Christian cashiers, Christian sanitation workers, Christian judges, and the list goes on.
Our job as Christians is to infiltrate our society because that’s where we will find those who need to hear about Jesus. The Lord has empowered you with the gift or gifts to fulfill His calling for your life. God gives us what we need to be successful in whatever He calls us to do, and we must understand and faithfully believe that because Satan wants us to think and etch these words in our minds, “we can’t.” However, God’s word teaches us otherwise. These are the words we should etch in our minds, recorded in Matthew 19:26:
…with God, all things are possible.Matthew 19:26
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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