Ask Pastor Mike: Staff & Pastors Doing Ministry

Ask Pastor Mike: “In Sunday’s sermon, you said, ‘It is all of our jobs, together as the church, to execute God’s ministry.’ Respectfully, isn’t this what we hire the pastors and staff to do?”

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Good question! It might be helpful for us to define ministry. Simply put, ministry is the application of God’s word and will. The Bible teaches that Jesus is our great high priest, meaning Christ has come and fulfilled the priestly role through his life, death, and resurrection. Therefore, Christ was the final priestly mediator between God and his people, and Christ-followers share in that role through him (Hebrews 4:14, Hebrews 9:11-12). 

Because of this truth, Peter wrote: 

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). 

Peter is saying, now every person who is united to Christ shares in this priestly office, which means Christ-followers are not dependent upon the priests within the church to interpret Scripture, offer the blessing of forgiveness, or disciple one another in the ways of Christ. The passage I preached on Sunday, Ephesians 4:1-16 illustrates how this priesthood of all believers should be lived out in a local church. 

First, each Christ-follower is to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which he or she has been called (Ephesians 4:1). Ultimately, this connotes that we grow up in the maturity of Christ, which our union with Christ invites, allows, and enables.

Second, the gifts given in this passage (Ephesians 4:11) are people–spiritual leaders–who are called “to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12). Does this mean the spiritual leaders (i.e. elders, paid staff) are not to do the work of ministry? No, but they are to prioritize equipping the members of the church to serve one another under the headship of Christ. We know this because the Apostle Paul indicates the purpose for this equipping: “…for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). He casts the purpose further by saying it is to “attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). 

As Christ-followers, our purpose is to grow up into maturity in Christ, which is done (as Paul is saying) by growing in ministry, not just Bible head-knowledge. Ministry is the practice of how God’s word calls Christ-followers to walk in Jesus. Ministry is what it means to grow as a body. It’s what it means to be built up in love.

So, yes, pastors, elders, and staff do ministry, but they prioritize equipping God’s people for ministry so that the church grows up in the unity of Christ. At FBC, we all seek to share in the blessing of ministry, for the sake of God and one another.