A passage that I read frequently to our fellowship is Ephesians 4:11-16. In these verses, Paul gives us a great picture of the church as the body of Christ working together so that everyone grows in maturity into Christ. Whenever I read this passage, I am reminded of my role as a church planter and pastor: “to equip the saints for the work of ministry.” (Ephesians 4:11 ESV).
During the last month, we formed a Launch Team. As the name implies, this Launch Team will work diligently to get our church ready for launching Sunday worship services. Prayerfully considering the commitment, these families have jumped in with both feet. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to be working alongside of these men and women.
Although I am excited bout our Launch Team, it also brings sadness to a piece of my heart. And here is my moment of confession. I know that God is calling me to “equip the saints for the work of ministry,” but there is a part of me—and I don’t want to admit how big it is—that wants to do all the ministry myself. When I do it all myself, people think I am impressive. People give me praise. My ego skyrockets. With every person that I give an opportunity to do the “work of ministry,” I am called to humbly surrender.
God is teaching me the importance of equipping others because others have gifts that I do not have. This hurts to realize. Deep down, I secretly do wish that I could do all things perfectly and that I wouldn’t need help. Wouldn’t that be amazing? The reality is that I do have a particular set of gifts, but I am lacking in other gifts. That is humbling. I am being forced to admit that I need other people.
We talked about faith this past week in our Bible Study though the book of Mark. Faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 ESV). Faith requires surrender. You must let go. I must surrender my ego. I must surrender my desire to show to others that I can do this all on my own. I must surrender so that others can use their gifts for the glory of God and the building of his church.
I am fully convinced that God is the one who builds his church. I never want to plant a church that revolves around Mike Fennema. (Who would even want to go to that church?) However, being willing to surrender to God in faith still isn’t easy.
God is teaching me to engage of small acts of surrender every day as this church is being planted. I’m learning to give away small amounts of control, of influence, of desires, of activity. I’m learning to trust more in the Lord, to see the gifts that he has given to others. This is how the body of Christ is built. This is how the body is equipped and how we mature. This is how the outside world will see the love of Christ displayed, as the body “builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:16 ESV)