15 Apr Raise Up Others To Help Lead
As we have seen in an earlier article, elders and evangelists are vital leaders in God’s churches. But one of their most important roles is to raise up other leaders in the church as well.
The passage below teaches that evangelists and elders are to prepare others to serve as leaders in the church. The leaders they raise up will help church members to become stronger and more spiritually mature, drawing closer to one other and to Christ. (Note that in this passage, elders are referred to as pastors.)
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, 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. 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 men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
It is inspiring for the church to gather together with the entire membership, worshipping with a large number of fellow disciples. But Christians also need to consistently meet in smaller groups with friends who help each other to grow spiritually. Of course, elders and evangelists cannot lead all those groups—it takes many “lay leaders” to keep those groups vibrant and growing. As elders and evangelists, let’s focus on raising up leaders for the smaller groups in our churches!
Of course we don’t just appoint leaders, hand them a group, and then leave them to figure things out on their own. One of our most important jobs is to continue to advise and support them in their work for the Lord. As we just read, we are to “prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up” (v. 12). Lay leaders in the church will need to be equipped with Bible knowledge, lesson ideas, and other teaching tools as they lead Bible studies and group discussions. They will also need wisdom in addressing a variety of counseling situations that may arise in their group: conflict resolution, supporting members with mental health struggles, ministering to complex family dynamics, and so much more.
As we raise up and equip other leaders in our churches to build smaller groups in which disciples help one another, we will enable our churches to grow healthy and strong, supported by leadership at key levels. We will make our own workloads a bit lighter by sharing it with others. In all this we will carry out God’s plan for His disciples “to grow up into the Head, that is Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).