And He Himself gave some to beapostles, 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… Ephesians 4.11-13
The Christian Ministry: Part I, chapter I
Charles Bridges (1794-1869)
“This sacred office is administered by agents, Divinely-called through the medium of lawful authority, and entrusted with the most responsible and enriching blessing; rendering the highest possible service to their fellow men, because that most nearly connected with the glory of the Saviour…The privileges communicated to the Church by its instrumentality, are union with her glorious Head, and the communion of the several members with others in their diversified relations, and mutual dependencies. Thus the body ‘cometh in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man.’ Each member contributes to the establishment of the system.”
For Bridges, a healthy church was one growing in unity and maturity, as each member, equipped for ministry, took up his or her appointed task of service in the Body of Christ. Church health and growth, as Bridges pursued it, was first qualitative and only secondly quantitative. That begins with each member of the church being “connected with the glory of the Saviour” and then through their ministries together and to one another. The minister of the Word must bring those in his care into the presence of the Lord, where they can know true blessing, and grow in Christ-likeness. Then they will be in a position, through the grace of Jesus, to serve others in their various callings.
How do you measure the qualitativehealth of your congregation? What should “unity” and “maturity” look like in your particular church?
The Church in the Christian Worldview
Where does the Church fit in the Christian worldview? What is its relationship to the Kingdom? The culture of its times? What are the primary concerns of the local church? These questions and more are addressed in our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview. This free, online course is available for individuals or groups. You can learn more and register for the course 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.