So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 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
Our room was jam packed with college aged kids. Some were artists, others working on their masters and all in pursuit of knowing Jesus more. A few of them had been coming for a few weeks. We could tell they had us at arms length, sizing us up, wondering what we were about. At first they came and went without saying a whole lot. But, as they began to feel a little more comfortable and their questions had taken shape and form, they would draw them out one at a time from a stack of cards.
My husband and I had been opening our home and meeting for about two years with whoever God brought through our door. We’d tested the flavor of the words bible study, gathering, fellowship and tentatively nibble on the word, church. We were so afraid to take a bite into the latter word. What did “church” really mean? Could we call ourselves a “church”? Did we even want to? We’d just come out of an 11 year relationship with a “church” and we had the bruises and scars to prove it. We weren’t bitter, just aware. And with every passing week gathering in our living room, the word “church” began to be dissected. But, we weren’t the ones holding the scalpel, Jesus was. He was ever the gentle surgeon, gently scraping back the dead skin we’d allowed to grow around the word.
“How many times is the word pastor used in the bible?”
“Why is there so much emphasis on the pastor and the worship team?”
“Has worship become an idol?”
“What did Jesus mean for the church to look like?”
“Why the “Romans Road” plan for salvation?”
As we were wrapping up one Sunday, one of the kids threw a card on the table, “Why don’t you preach sermons every week?”
After all our wrestling, we limped towards the answer, looking for a new name. “It’s not our primary gifting or calling. We can preach and teach. We are able, but there’s a room full of people here and we’re sure a couple of them have a gift to teach. But we don’t want to carry all the gifts, juggling them in the air hoping they’ll all stay up.” Inevitably they must come crashing down.
In Ephesians 4, we are told God has equipped us all with callings to build up the body of Christ. We’ve all heard preaching around “one body with many different parts”. But, the Holy Spirit brought new revelation that night.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:14-15
I don’t get to mature as a believer, grow out of my infancy, until you operate with the gifts He’s equipped you to use. At the same time, you don’t get to mature until I am obedient to walk in the gifts He’s given me. Then, we will no longer be infants. Then we will grow to be mature.
He didn’t come back after that week.