In the Church that Jesus is building, church leaders are intended by God not to plan events but to equip people. The people are then released to do the ministry that God has called each one to accomplish in His Name
Ephesians 4:11-12 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Leaders do not exist to provide services and do ministry; they exist to train and equip the people. So, leaders in the Church need to make a concentrated effort to stop organizing ministry for people (meeting their needs) and invest their time in mobilizing people for ministry.
A true story from a communist nation… we will call our believer Dominic
Dominic is now in his sixties, and he has been a believer, a member, and a leader of a relatively small house church for most of his life. Dominic’s passion is telling people about Christ.,
He was once brought before the Communist council in his community to be questioned about his faith and his evangelistic work. He walked into the interrogation room with a large rock in his hands and set it down on the table in front of the men who were about to question him.
Surprised, one of the men asked Dominic, “Why did you bring this rock with you?”
Dominic replied, “Before we begin my questioning today, I want you to know something. If you try to stop me from telling people about the greatness of Jesus Christ, then this rock is going to start speaking for me.”
Dominic was alluding to Luke 19:40, where Jesus says that if the disciples didn’t proclaim His glory, the stones would cry out instead.
The Communist leaders, of course, had no idea what Dominic was talking about. They conferred and decided that Dominic was out of his mind, so they released him without further questioning.
Dominic’s passion to tell people about Christ translates into a commitment to train people in the house church. When he leads someone to Christ, Dominic takes personal responsibility for helping that person grow in Christ. His goal is for that person to become a leader in the church and then eventually to leave and plant another church somewhere else. All leaders have a job outside the church to make their living and support their families.
Dominic’s church has now planted more than sixty other churches in his country, with nearly every one of the leaders personally trained by Dominic. He does not organize ministry for people, he does not minister to his people – he mobilizes people for ministry. His life and leadership are a picture of what it means to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ today.
This is the same model we see in the life of Jesus. He spent more time with 12 men than with everyone else put together. In John 17, where He recounts His ministry before going to the cross, He doesn’t mention the multitudes He preached to or the miracles He performed. As spectacular as those events were, they were not His primary focus. Instead forty times Jesus speaks to and about the men in whom He had invested His life. They were His focus.
When He came to His ascension, Jesus had no buildings or programs to point to and no crowds to boast of. Indeed, most of the crowds had walked away. Just 120 unschooled, ordinary people were gathered – a small group with a small band of leaders.
And He had given them one command as their commission: make disciples. Do with others what I have done with you, Jesus has said. Don’t sit in a classroom; share your lives. Don’t build extravagant places; build extraordinary people. Make disciples who will make disciples who will make disciples, and together multiply this gospel to all people.
This is the simply command that was to drive the Church. And this is the simple command that is to drive each of our lives.