As Christians, what would be the implications of having low levels of character, but high levels of skill in our daily lives? What if we were perceived as being strong in character, but low in skill? Scripture is clear about the need for Christians growing from spiritual infants to mature adults. But what exactly does it mean for us to grow in Christian maturity, equipping believers for the work of ministry and building up the body of Christ? Consider this question in light of Ephesians 4:11-16 and Psalm 78:72.
Ephesians 4:11-16 English Standard Version (ESV)
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equipthe saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all 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, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Psalm 78:72 (ESV)
72With upright heart he shepherded them
and guided them with his skillful hand.
According to these passages, it is critical that we view the body of Christ holistically, addressing the whole of the individual—head, heart, and hands. When we focus on only one aspect to the negligence of another, we stand to foster not only incompetence, but also pride and sinful behavior. Consider the results of focusing solely on a new Christian’s knowledge and skill, building up their know-how, but neglecting to deepen their character and their faith.
As you search for your role in ministry or missions work, keep the above image and Scriptures in mind. God desires for us to be fruitful. Ask yourself as you minister to others:
- What do these believers need to know?
- Who do they need to be in Christ?
- And what will they do as a result with which skills needed?
God desires to transform our character to be like His, equipping the body for the work of ministry and making His name known among the nations. Are there areas you or your missionaries and ministers need to develop? Have you left parts of yourself unexamined? Let us work alongside you and connect you with resources to grow. Our next post focuses on the knowledge, beliefs, and skills needed to develop holistically.