Dr. Howard Hendricks asked pastors, “Have you not read Ephesians 4:11-16?” He was addressing church leaders who try to do everything themselves, or at least control everything. He was reminding them that Christ “gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,” not to do or control everything but “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service” (NASB). Ephesians 4 goes on to say that this results in all believers becoming stable in doctrine, resistant to false teaching, and loving and honest in their relationships. Each member of the body is to be equipped and unleashed to perform their ministry unto Jesus.
Let me speak the truth in love. Pastors who do not equip and unleash the saints for ministry, leaders who attempt to do everything themselves or micro-manage those they may have delegated to ministries, are violating this portion of God’s Word and the example of team ministry in the New Testament. Have they not read Ephesians 4:11-16?
While the predominant metaphor in the Bible compares the church and her individual members to the human body and its individual parts, let’s compare them to a sports team and its individual players and coaches. Successful coaches don’t run on to the field and attempt to play every position themselves. No, they identify each player’s strengths (gifts) and place each player in the position that requires those strengths. They then instruct as needed, correct as needed, encourage continuously. But for the most part, they get out of the way and allow their players to play their positions.
Though my position is president, can you imagine how ineffective I’d be if I tried to do everything myself? I depend on the members of my team, who depend on the members of their teams, who depend on the members of their teams. Together, with members fulfilling their own ministries, we all succeed and God is glorified. Go team!
— Loren Stacy