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…Ephesians 4.11, 12
The Christian Ministry: Part I, chapter I
Charles Bridges (1794-1869)
“The Great Head of the Church has ordained three grand repositories of His truth. In the Scriptures He has preserved it by His Providence against all hostile attacks. In the hearts of Christians He has maintained it by the Almighty energy of His Spirit – even under every outward token of general apostasy. And in the Christian Ministry He has deposited ‘the treasure in earthen vessels’ for the edification and enriching of the Church in successive ages.”
Charles Bridges was a priest in the evangelical wing of the Anglican Church. His insights into the work of pastoral ministry – and what can hinder its effectiveness – are as valuable today as they were when first penned nearly 200 years ago. The work of ministry centers on the Word of God – preaching, teaching, making disciples, and watching over the flock of the Lord. God has, indeed, deposited His truth in earthen vessels; and this is precisely the way that thanks, praise, glory, and honor go up only to Him, as faithful ministers make strong disciples and build healthy, growing churches.
How do you evaluate the state of God’s truth in your church – in your life, the lives of those you serve, and the church as a Kingdom community?
Fan into Flame
Our book Fan into Flame offers an overview of the work of ministry and opportunities to evaluate and improve all aspects of that calling. It includes sections on the context of ministry, the ministry of the Word and prayer, and the personal example of the minister. This is an excellent tool for taking stock of the state of your ministry, and for making plans to improve in specific areas and ways. Order your copy of Fan into Flame by clicking here.
Twelve Questions that Could Change Your Church
How do you determine the overall health of your church? Paul’s template in Ephesians 4.11-16 outlines his approach to building healthy, growing churches. Download our free assessment tool, Twelve Questions that Could Change Your Church (click here). Make copies for all your leaders. Work through it together, then discuss your observations, and you will discover areas where you can better focus your efforts in building your congregation into a healthy, growing church.
Your prayers and gifts make this ministry possible. Please seek the Lord in prayer about sharing with us at The Fellowship of Ailbe. You can use the Contribute button at the website, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
All the excerpts for this series are from Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry, with An Inquiry into the Causes of its Inefficiency (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1830, 1991).