Ministry Engagement Involves Developing the Saints for Service


In my travels to hundreds of congregations, I have one new common question I ask members.  “How are you being trained to use the spiritual gifts God has given you?” The blank looks or even looks of confusion tell a troubling tale of a failure by the church.

As we continue this series on ministry engagement,  allow me to take you deeper into Ephesians 4.

Importance of development

Paul in verse 14 says, 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.

R.C. Sproul points out, “One of the greatest obstacles encountered in a teaching ministry is this idea, pervasive in the Christian church, that there is no benefit to be had by the laity in serious study of the Word of God or in the study of theology. We have elevated to the level of an idea the idea of having a simple, childlike faith.  We find people saying, ‘I want my faith to be simple and childlike, I don’t need to know any theology. All I need to know is Jesus.’ That sentiment is a childish sentiment and, I suggest to you, it is a sinful sentiment.[1]

The church is doing their members no favors by watering down the importance of growth we receive in the study and application of God’s word. The enemy of spiritual growth is time.  Our schedules don’t allow for intense training.  It is easy to skip our need for spiritual maturity in the things of God.  Paul warns that this lack of depth leaves our people targets, even prey for the craftiness and cunning of men and Satan.  I would also argue this leaves our churches open to whatever new wave of false teaching and ministry misdirections may come our way.   The church that is not grounded is susceptible to every fad that comes down the line.

In my research on Millennials two essentials things they value is: 1) Leadership they can believe in and 2) Leaders to help develop them.  I don’t think that only applies to Millennials.  This leadership development is what Paul is describing.  He talks about living a life above reproach and one where he does not become a stumbling block.  Here in Ephesians 4 he also champions developing the people God has called us to shepherd.  Both are vital elements in engaging the people sitting in the pews. Come back next week for the next installment.

[1]Sproul, R. C. (1994). The Purpose of God: Ephesians(pp. 104–105). Scotland: Christian Focus Publications.

If wonder how does this look? This post will be a starting point.

13 Comments on “Ministry Engagement Involves Developing the Saints for Service

  1. Pingback: Ministry Engagement: Equipping​ the Saints to Build Up The Body – The light breaks through

  2. I don’t think any pastor would say they don’t *want* to not make disciples. I know I certainly *do* want to make disciples. I want to be a leader that equips the brothers and sisters (young and seasoned) in God’s congregation to be disciples.

    But how? How can we – as the under-shepherds of God’s flock – gather them together to make them disciples?

    Certainly it is NOT enough to just offer a Bible study, discipleship group, or seminar. As in, “offer it and they will come.”


    • I agree. I have written a great deal about discipleship because I know I was never taught how to do that as a pastor. I have had to learn how to disciple others, unfortunately I have not had the congregation to test out my theories.


      • Join me here! Invitation is always open! I think there are a hard-core group of men and women who are willing to be taught here at St. Matthew.


  3. Your reference of Ephesians 4 brought to mind the APEST inventory offered through It is a leadership inventory which looks at the gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11.


  4. Your reference of Ephesians 4 brought to mind the APEST leadership inventory offered by It takes a look at the different offices/gifts from Ephesians 4:11 and gives a leader insight on their bent, as well as the upside and downside associated with that.


  5. Excellent start to the disciple making dilemma pastors face. Yet it is a wonderful challenge for which we pray and prompt our people as the Spirit moves the body of Christ to serve and make spiritual impacts along the way. Cultivating a ministry mindset takes time as we make the most of the opportunities we have to reach out to others. When I think about the investment of time people make (sports and scouting come to mind) is it not because they experience the value of being built/trained up and unleased into the activity for which they prepared? And most of all it is the connection to others who have the same interests- in the context of relationship? The church is in the excellent position to offer the grace of God in acts of kindness for which anybody can belong and be a part of. Serving to see a spiritual impact needs to be a desire of the Christian of we find too little in our churches. As pastor I am reminded of the example I am to set, of giving beyond myself, planning with purpose, investing for the long run beyond my life and breath in this world. Start and keep it simple. Allow and encourage others to bring needs to the forefront. Often this becomes the catalyst for new ministry. Engage the young into meaningful opportunities to see how their involvement makes a difference. Train as you go – Jesus did. The impact of His ministry to the 12 and the others came after His ascension and the Spirit’s coming! The results, before persecution, were impactful and community building! And after persecution set in, the love of Christ compelled them to continue even in the face of the opposition. The best is yet to come! Let us make the most of the time we have in the joy our Lord Jesus Christ gives and expects!


  6. Pingback: July 13th and 20th 2018 – Weekly Roundup of Members Posts | Blogging Meetup

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