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Theme: Genuine spiritual growth comes only as the Holy Spirit applies the Word of God to people’s hearts.

This week concludes our detailed look at Grace Church of Mentor’s mission statement: “Grace Church of Mentor exists to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and equipping the saints with the goal of Christ-likeness.”

Church should not be about appealing to the greatest number of people through style and programs. The Spirit must draw souls to His church. Our promotions must not focus on what we do more than who we are. Church must first and foremost be about understanding and applying the Word of God.

Listen

Main Points:

Evaluation:
Many churches are run on models not supported by the Bible. The pastor is not meant to be merely a clergyman or to be a CEO; the pastor’s responsibility is to train the people in making disciples. When a Scriptural model is followed, Jesus will build His church. Every other model consists of man building a church.

Our appeal should come from being salt and light in our community. If we have nothing more than an open Bible, with it being taught and applied so that every person increasingly demonstrates the character of Christ, that is enough. Appealing to people’s felt desires is actually less loving than preaching the whole Scripture and living out complete obedience.

Chart: Three Different Types of Pastor
(For more information, see The Trellis and the Vine by Tony Payne.)

Pastor as clergyman Pastor as CEO Pastor as trainer
Pastor is Preacher and service-provider Preacher and manager Preacher and trainer
Sunday is Service of worship Attractional meeting worshiping disciples with their Lord
Outside of Sunday Occasional service Range of events and programs Disciples reaching out to make disciples
Pastoral Care through Counseling and visitation Small group People ministering to people
Church is like A small corner store with one employee A department store with numerous staff team with an active captain-coach
Results in Consumers in maintenance mode Consumers in growth mode Disciples in mission mode

*Chart taken from the Trellis and the Vine by Tony Payne

Explanation:
One ingredient of maintaining unity in the church is the pastor-teacher equipping the saints. The Greek word translated “equip” or “prepare” is also used to refer to resetting a broken bone. Jesus heals and restores what has been broken by sin through His grace in salvation. This process continues in the body He has assembled as pastor-teachers apply the Word of God.

Members of a local church should be learning, knowing, and warmly helping each other understand the Scriptures. The “work of the ministry” in Ephesians 4:13 is the ability for every Christian to minister God’s Word to another. How long does this last? Until all can teach each other what God has taught them.

Training God’s people in the Word comes before all programs and style decisions. A congregation that ministers the Word to each other will be able to discern the genuineness of leaders and is protected against being led astray.

Deduction:
Christians who are spiritually “a mile wide and an inch deep” are so because they have a shallow knowledge of Christ. Consequently they cannot live His character in a dark culture that overshadows their testimony. One clear way to reverse this condition is to be “built up” in the faith.

In our passage, pastor/teachers are to equip holy ones for the ministry of the Word, and while doing so, it becomes easy to deduce that saints will be “built up” and encouraged. The strengthening of the church through the building up of the body of Christ is always towards to goal of greater maturity in Christ.

Application Points

  • When talking about Grace Church of Mentor with fellow Christians or unbelievers, how do you represent our appeal? Do you talk about programs and style more than the centrality of studying and applying the Scriptures?
  • Are you learning to understand God’s Word and sharing it with others? How can you put yourself in training to better know, understand, and pass on the truth of God’s Word?
  • Pray that our church would grow in this area. Dig deeper into Scripture yourself, and practice transparency with members who can keep you accountable.


Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore:

  • 2 Timothy 4:3-5 – the danger for a congregation that doesn’t know the Scriptures.
  • Galatians 6:1, 2 Corinthians 13:11, 1 Thessalonians 3:10, Hebrews 13:21, Matthew 4:21 – other uses of the Greek word for “equip” or “restore.”
  • Matthew 5:13-16 – Christians’ charge to be salt and light.
  • John 15:12-19, 2 John 6 – How Christians should love.
  • Matthew 16:18, 1 Peter 2:1-8, Romans 15:20 – building up the church.
  • James 5:16 – transparency among believers.



A Hymn to Encourage: “How Firm a Foundation”

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said—
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy trouble to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not harm thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

“The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”

Quotes to Ponder:
Richard Baxter (The Reformed Pastor): “It is but the least part of the Minister’s work, which is done in the Pulpit….to go daily from one house to another, and see how you live, and examine how you profit, and direct you in the duties of your families, and in your preparation for death, is the great work.”