Equipping The Saints
But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
The word “minister” comes from the same word meaning “to serve”. Hence, a minister is a servant, a ministry is a service, and to minister is to serve. This is the same context that Paul writes that He is the servant, or slave of Christ. As Jesus said, he who wishes to be the greatest in the Kingdom will be the servant, the slave, of all.
The position of ministry is never one of exalting oneself over another, but rather the serving of another, and being their slave in the Lord. A minister could be viewed as someone who has something of God so that he has been designated, by God, to help other people find Him as well. A servant, a slave, never works on his own behalf, for his own name or recognition, but only and always for that of his master, his steward and keeper.
Jesus’ model was not a business, but a family with only one head. He did not intend for an organizational structure or for a institution other than the local church to govern the world. Instead, as each one is built up in Christ, they are knit together into one head, even Christ Himself.
It was he [Christ] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare [equip] God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4:11-13, NIV, edited
Even as Christ did appointed certain people to fulfill roles within the church, this does not contradict the other command, that no one would be over another. Rather, it is to a specific end, the equipping of the body so that we can be mature. And, in that maturity, we would rule and reign upon the Earth, as Jesus’ called-out, ruling body. Without faith, it is impossible to do any of this, and so it is God’s heart that His body be built up and equipped, so that we can, in truth, be His church effectively.
The true minister serves the people he is over in the Lord. He sees to their needs, because his are met in the Lord alone. He oversees the flock of God, because he is not interested in anything but the Lord’s due.
The true servant of the Lord serves others, because the Lord Himself did. He dose not take leadership or promotion, or any other thing.
God is looking for brothers, not super-stars.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
1 John 2:19
Here, the apostle John is talking about those who “went out” from among them, warning the people of them. The phrase “went out” is much different than the apostolic commission, “sent out”. Paul and Barnabas were set apart and sent out from among the body, as missionaries and ambassadors to Asia and the world. But, what John is referencing is those who were not sent out from the body, but those who wanted to make a name for themselves, to be preachers with recognition and with standing before people.
Where Paul was singled out by the Lord and the Spirit of Prophecy highlighted them and indicated the work that they would do, these people took it upon themselves to go out. John makes it clear that they were never really a part of them, for their heart was never knit together with them in love.
Of course, today, there are many broken fellowships, and many leaders do exalt over others and would attempt to hold people even when the Lord is calling them out, but the basic principle of John is the same.
The point of ministry is not to have a following, but to follow. It is not to work in gifts and abilities, but to serve others spiritually into coming into Christ and being His disciples.
Jesus could have taught about many things, but He chose specifically to teach and demonstrate the Kingdom. He didn’t primarily focus on the gifts, although they were all there. But, He knew, that when people were properly focused on the right thing, namely the invisible, and they made the priority of their lives not the operation of the supernatural, but that of doing the will of Him who sent them, the Father, they would not only perform all the rest, but they would keep themselves from the greatest pitfalls and temptations that have assailed men for all time.
A singular focus, that of doing only what the Father did, of living in humility, transparency, and honesty, in a pure, faithful, and innocent life, in the power of the Spirit, produces all the rest.
There is always a place for more in depth teaching, more training, for preaching and instruction in all righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17), but the whole of the matter must start and end upon one thing alone, have we, and do we continue to, love Christ above every other thing of this Earth.
Unless we accomplish this, we have failed in everything we ever do, our works will be consumed by the fire and not last, and we will be chided by the Lord for our foolishness.
Yet, the promise for those who do right is equally profound.
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
Daniel 12:2-3, emphasis added