What is our purpose for having church? God gives us that purpose: It is to make disciples, baptize them, and to teach those disciples the Word of God. It is fairly easy. It can be summarized in this acronym that is far better than I could ever make up! It came from my first pastor, Steve Mays:
(W) – Win someone, (I) – Instruct someone, (S) – Send someone, (E) – Encourage someone.
We seek to win someone to Christ, then we will disciple them and teach them the Word of God. (Ephesians 4:12).
Ephesians 4:11–16 NKJV
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
Then we desire to send them out and encourage them to Win someone and Instruct someone. We can send people out to start other fellowships, but I think this applies to being sent out to start a specific ministry in the fellowship as well. Specifically what Ephesians 4 is speaking about.
Why are we sent? To equip the saints for the work of the ministry. What is our goal? What are we shooting for?
Jesus told us the following
Matthew 28:19–20 NKJV
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Our goal is to equip the saints. To make them disciples and then to send them out to make more disciples. That is our goal. We are to reproduce. But we are to reproduce based upon discipling the saints according to the Word of God, the Bible.
Now we know what we are trying to shoot for, however, how do we get there? How do we accomplish the Great Commission that Jesus commanded us to do?
Acts 2:42 NKJV
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
1. Teaching of the Word (2 Timothy 3:16)
In any ministry that we do, from the clean–up crew to the pulpit, we should have a focus and emphasis on the word of God.
This is our goal. No matter what we are doing, no matter what ministry we serve in, we should always be pointing people to Jesus in the scripture. We do not lift up or magnify ourselves. We do not give opinions. We give the Word of God.
Opinions are fine when appropriate, but not in the context of ministry.
2. Going to Church/Fellowship Times (Hebrews 10:25)
We should not lose this key. Many people have. It is important, especially as ministers that we are in church. Not only does this allow us to be encouraged ourselves, but it also allows us to see the needs of the fellowship and those who are in the fellowship.
This is also a great example to those who come to church here. You, as leaders should be in church at least one other time a week other than when you serve. Preferably, as leaders, you should be in church all the time. You are being a good example to others.
3. Communion (1 Corinthians 11:23–31)
This is about “keeping the main thing the main thing.” Focusing on Jesus.
This is more than just an ordinance that we follow. This is more than just drinking the juice and eating the bread. It is much more important.
It helps us to focus in on what is important. Every time we take communion we are forced to think about what allowed us to enter into the Kingdom of God. We are compelled to understand that it was the death of Jesus, His blood and broken body, that gave us entrance into a relationship with Him.
It is a way to keep the main thing, the main thing.
4. Prayers (Matthew 6:33; Philippians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Depending upon Jesus for everything. This is another great focus or key. This is vital. You all should have the MP3 “Power Through Prayer” book by E.M. Bounds (available in the Topical Section of our Bible Studies page). Please listen to it at your earliest convenience. It is life–changing. Prayer is not something that is boring and dull. It is vital, it is important if we are to grow as a fellowship and grow as Christians.
Prayer is not so much telling God what we want, (He already knows that, He’s God!) no it is us getting aligned with what God wants. We get our marching orders in prayer. We get to know the heart of God through prayer. We understand the things that break God’s heart, and they become heartbreaking for us as well.
And, we do not stress when things go crazy. We just lift them before the throne of God and see what God will do!
5. Baptized by the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:1–4)
I can not say enough about this, but in this short time I want to tell you that we are powerless to do any type of ministry without the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. We must be baptized with this power.
It is so vitally important that Jesus would not allow the disciples to do anything without it. (Acts 1:4–5)
And afterward, the disciples, and Peter who were totally weak and hiding from the religious leaders, are out there in the open square preaching a bold sermon and seeing thousands come to Christ! (Acts 2)
You see, this is what the Power of the Holy Spirit does in our lives. It turns our timidness and shyness into boldness. Acts 4:31 NKJV says, “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”
Baptized by water: Outward expression. (Matthew 28:19; Romans 6) Baptism, like Communion is an outward expression of an inward change. However, this is also more than just a ritual or rite of passage.
When someone was baptized it meant that they gave up their rights to the old life. It meant that they were identifying themselves with Jesus.
In the days of Jesus and the disciples, a person who was baptized into Christ could lose their job, their business, and even their life.
It meant that they were totally committed and ready to give up all for Jesus. It meant that they gave themselves away. They were no longer their own but Christ’s.
Acts 2:44–47 NKJV
“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
The result is that the body of Christ becomes unified in the faith. We all become one, with a single focus. Once this is accomplished, then, and only then, will the Lord add “to the church daily those who were being saved.”