I love how Paul’s letter to the Ephesians defines gifted leaders in the local church and their mission: “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (4:11-12). This five-fold description of leaders paints a beautiful picture of the various gifts needed to provide balanced, effective leadership in the church. But what strikes me as most important is their job description: to equip God’s people for works of service, or “for the work of the ministry.” Many of our Bible Colleges and Seminaries are training church leaders to be professional ministers, to do the work of ministry better than anyone else. The local church pays these leaders to do the work for them. Instead, God’s Word tells us that the job of leaders in the church is to train, to equip the people to do various works of service. They are to be coaches and mentors, educators, not paid professionals.
The defined outcome is also interesting: so that the body of Christ will be built up, strengthened, encouraged, made powerful and effective in the midst of the world! In other words, the primary task of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers is Christian education. The mission of church leaders is to equip, to training, to provide an opportunity for all the members of the body of Christ to receive the knowledge and tools they will need to be the Body of Christ in the world. And yet, so many local pastoral leaders don’t have a vision for this equipping, for the Christian education mission in the church. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “normal” ministry of preaching, pastoral care and church administration, leaving little time left for the real mission. After all, how many local churches still even have some kind of Sunday School or systematic Bible study program?
It’s time for a Christian education revolution in the American church! Our commitment at CLST Global is to resource the mission. For those who are committed to the mission, for those who would like a systematic, disciplined, accountable process of Christian education, equipping and training, the programs and resources offered by CLST Global are the best by far. But making effective use of those programs and resources must start with a restoration of and passion for the mission of Christian education in the local church. Are you ready to join the Christian education revolution?