I felt surprisingly proud the other day as I watched the opening of the 10 o’clock news, as it included a clip of Dalton Philips, CEO of Morrisons, giving his summary of the economic outlook for the UK. I was pleased that the opinion of member of our church was being heard on prime-time TV. I felt good to know that Dalton was making an impact; that a respected voice in business was part of The Belfrey. It reminded me again that true Christian service is not expressed within the four walls of church, but in places like the workplace, in the media, and amongst family, neighbours and friends.
Most of us know it but every now and then we need reminding that serving as a follower of Jesus is mainly done outside of church. In fact the bible says that ministry (which means ‘service’) is done not by church leaders but by the wider church, and that the role of leaders is to equip and prepare the rest of the church to be ministers where-ever they go. Not only did Dalton’s appearance on News at Ten bring this back to me, but also my completion of a five part blog at the weekend on The Five-Fold Ministry.
In those blogs I’ve been unpacking Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 4:11-12 which says:
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service.
We’ve been discovering that the roles of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher are really important for churches to function in a healthy way. But that raises the question: why? Why is it so important that there are good church leaders in place, fulfilling their roles? Is it so that these church leaders can serve in Christ’s name? No. The primary reason is to prepare and equip ‘God’s people’ (ie. the rest of the church) for ministry – for service.
For some this may not seem important but believe me, it is. If the church in the UK really grasped this, then revival might not be far away. You see, most Christians think that church leaders are the ones who really serve and make a difference for Jesus – so much so that many churches call their leader ‘the minister’! But the bible says that the real ministers are not the leaders, but everyone else.
So ministry – Christian service – is done by everyone. And the purpose of leaders (and of the five-fold ministry) is to equip everyone to serve. People like Dalton Philips. But also people like Melissa – a single mum and teacher; Paul – a dad, husband and architect; Angela – a full time mum, caring for family and friends, and Allan, now retired and looking for fresh ways to serve.
These are some of the ministers of The Belfrey. This is service. It’s what all Christians are called to. Every day.