What would the ideal church look like? Paul gives us a glimpse in Ephesians 4. He begins with a list of roles that are necessary in all churches. The roles include apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher, and pastor. In most of our churches we have the last two covered, but a mature church has all five. Each performs a specific role that helps the church grow into a mature, Christian faith.
These five roles are gifts given by Christ to Christians. They are given to be used for the building up of the body. An apostle, for example, is one in your church who is ‘sent out’ to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the lost. Others may be gifted as a pastor and they spend their time caring for or shepherding the flock. All of these roles are important to have a church maturing within and also reaching out to bring new people to Christ.
A mature body is also a church who is sure in their faith. They know their call in Christ and are not swayed by the culture or the ways of the world. Each member is working together to help all grow in their faith. In our churches we see this in education classes, in small groups, and from the pulpit. All work together to help each other grow into the mature mind of Christ.
As a community of faith grows to be more and more like Christ, things like love, inclusiveness, and compassion begin to permeate. Even hard things that need said are said in love. As individuals within communities of faith, our question is this: what gift do we have to offer to help our communities to grow towards a greater fulness in Christ? Then, we must put it to use for the glory of God and for the building of His kingdom.
Scripture reference: Ephesians 4: 11-16