God has been very gracious to Antioch for the last 149 years. There is so much to be thankful for and so much to praise God for. As we enter into our 150th year, we need to be looking forward to all the wonderful things God is going to do. Over the next few weeks, I will sharing the vision for the next few years of ministry here at Antioch. As always, the goal is conformity to Jesus Christ and His Word for the glory of God and the good of man.
The vast majority of churches have what is known as a pastoral model. This means that the pastor is the one who, like Jesus, visits the sick, cares for the dying, preaches the Gospel, counsels individuals, etc. In many respects this is Biblical; pastors and elders should strive to minister like Jesus.
Jesus as our example
However, as we look at Jesus we find something interesting. One, Jesus never baptized; only His disciples did. Jesus also sent out His disciples by twos. He also had them ministering along side of Him and He discipled them in how to minister. Jesus did not “do” the ministry; Jesus ministered and equipped His disciples to minister alongside Him.
Concentric circles of influence
Jesus had concentric circles of disciples. There was 120, 70, 12, and 3. These numbers we can all relate to, but it is about the capacity of relationships that human beings can maintain. Herein is where the pastoral ministry model breaks down. One man can only effectively minister to 120 people. Even in that ministering some will be ministered to in a much more intensive way than others (one of 3 as opposed to one of 70.) Instead of this being a problem, it should be viewed as the solution.
The Great Commission shows us Jesus’ model of ministry. Every believer is supposed to be being discipled and making disciples as they go about life and ministry. If the pastor is ministering but not equipping others to minister, the effectiveness of the church is greatly hampered. This is why Paul told Timothy to raise up others to minister. This is also the teachings of Ephesians 4. Pastors and elders are not given to the church to minister, but to equip and empower the members to minister.
Every Member a Minister
Every member of the local church(including elders) is called to minister. This is the only way for the church to grow in unity, maturity, and missions. The elders are called to equip and empower the saints to do this ministry. One of the ways elders do this is by bringing along others as they minister. The goal for Antioch is that every single member of the church would be ministering.
How has God gifted you? What are you talents, passions, spiritual gifts, etc.?
What equipping do you need to minister?
Who is discipling you?
Are you a member of the body of Christ through faith in Jesus?