This weekend, our church, Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, held our annual church conference. One of the things I get to do during the conference is share an annual address. Usually, my address will recap the year, and cast vision for the next year, but this time, the address was very introspective and focused solely on next year.
Using Ephesians 4:11-16, I asked our congregation 10 questions. I’d like to share them with you because I believe they are relevant to the growth and success of any church.
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV
In this passage, Paul describes what the church should be. Based on this description I have 10 questions we need to answer.
1. Will you position yourself to be equipped?
Paul says spiritual leaders are given by God “for the equipping of the saints”.
We may need to change our minds about the ministries of the church. When we’re offered the opportunity to participate in the teaching ministries of the church, what will be our response?
2. Will you join in the work of the ministry?
Paul says we’re equipped “for the work of ministry”.
Last year, we gave every member a chance to serve. This year, we will do the same. Will you serve in our ministries or stay on the sidelines?
3. Will you work to edify the body of Christ?
Paul says we’re equipped for ministry, “for the edifying of the body of Christ”.
We’re challenging every member to do one thing to make our church better. Instead of talking about what should be done, get involved and do what you can.
4. Will you be united in the faith?
Paul says “till we all come to the unity of the faith”.
Come in from the fringes. Buy in to the vision and the purpose. Change your mind. If we’re still saying “them” and “they” when speaking about the church, instead of we and us, there is a problem.
5. Will you get to know Jesus?
Paul says we should come to the unity of the faith, to “the knowledge of the Son of God”
We need to learn the shepherd’s voice. We need to know what he’s like. If we’re all listening to the same spirit, we will all arrive at the same conclusions.
6. Will you seek perfection?
Paul says we’ll come “to a perfect man”.
We need to commit to growing into the best we can be. We need to make some lifestyle changes and overcome habits and vices.
7. Will you believe in God alone?
Paul gives us something to chew on when he says “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting”.
Teams who change coaches too often, rarely win because they’re unstable. They hear too many voices. People who try to follow different belief systems are just as unstable. We need to put our complete trust in God alone.
8. Will you speak the truth in love?
“but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ”.
We need to get along without being easily offended. We don’t need to bring an offense and we don’t need to take offense. This means we must trust each other. We can’t grow if we’re always offended by what others say.
9. Will you bring something to the table?
Paul describes the church like a human body and says “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies”.
Every part of the body is important. We are inter-dependent. We all have a contribution to make. That contribution may take many forms; time, talents, and treasure.
10. Will you do your share?
“according to the effective working by which every part does its share”.
God has a purpose for our participation in the church. There are ministries that need us. If we’re holding out on God, we’re stunting the growth of the church.
I believe the right answers to these questions will bring the result Paul shares in this passage; “causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” Prayerfully ask yourself these questions and I believe you’ll experience a deeper, more meaningful, church membership.