Missional Approach?

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The other day, I had a conversation with a pastor who described the ministry that God has placed me in (that of praying, acting and making a difference) as "missional". I found that extremely odd as it is the mission that God has placed us all on. It was as though he felt that since he is a "pastor" of "a church" that he somehow should not have a "missional" approach. In our conversation, I spoke of the call that God in Christ has place on all of us to reach the lost, to preach the gospel, and also to minister to those already in Christ. I truly have a problem with "church models" that limit God and say, I only do this or that. Rather, I believe we should say, "God here am I, use me". God will help us to have the right balance to achieve His objectives in our lives.

After posting this on LinkedIn, I received the following response from a brother, who happens to be a pastor:

You're right Jim. Every believer should have a missional approach. Make no mistake though, the 5-fold ministry is placed by Jesus for the "equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry" So even though we all are to be missional we do have different functions in the body, and all are necessary.

I agree with him, in part. However, I do find it interesting how the "5 fold ministry" is used as an excuse by many to limit God in their lives. It's true that we will be more used in certain areas, but God will not push on us what we are not willing to do.

Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

It is clear from this scripture that all of these roles are to build up the body of Christ, to create unity in the faith, to equip the saints for the work of service and to mold us into mature men (and women) who walk in the fullness of Christ. Why then do so many limit themselves to one capacity or another, suggesting, "I am [only] a prophet", "I am [only] an evangelist", etc.

I say no! Let it not be. Let us walk in the fullness of Christ. Let us not limit God in our lives by saying, "I am [only] a pastor". Rather let us look at the exhortation from Ephesians 4 as an additive progression, never taking away from what we have grown up in, but rather adding to it.

So for example, let us all preach the gospel (the work of the evangelist), then when people receive the truth, let us answer their questions and teach them about the word of God (the work of the teacher), then when they call us or come to us with their problems, their concerns, their trials, let us pray for them, both with them and apart from them, let us cater to their needs and love them as dear children (the work of the pastor), then as the Lord gives us words of knowledge, words of wisdom, and words of prophesy, let us share those to build up the body of believers (the work of the prophet), and then as we walk in the fullness of Christ with experience, let us use those giftings to go out, as God opens doors, to bring order to the body, to build and bolster new communities of believers, and to raise groups of believers in the call of Christ (the work of the apostle), and let us do it all to the glory of God.

I know this is not what is taught in Bible college or seminary, but there is a lot of man's way in Bible college and seminary. The word of God is our guide, and the Holy Spirit brings the understanding. The Holy Spirit desires for us to be fully mature in Christ and to use that maturity as a means to take down the strongholds of the enemy, and to over through the Kingdom of darkness, in as many places and as many ways as we can in Christ Jesus, in accordance with His will.

Look at the disciples of Christ and Jesus Himself. Did they limit themselves to certain regions, or certain ministry callings? No, they lived the Great Commission, walked by the Spirit, took ground from the enemy and walked in the fullness of Christ. May we all do the same.

Does this mean that God will not give us one emphasis or another; will we at times be doing more preaching, more teaching, more evangelizing, etc. Will God gift some in one area more than in another area, sure, but let that not limit us to an "office", that we refuse to step out of or that we rigidly hold to, which limits God. Let us say, "here am I Lord, use me, in whatever capacity you want to use me".

The full discussion thread can be read here on facebook


Jim Blake

All glory goes to the living God, maker of the heavens and the earth, for He alone is worthy of all glory and honor and praise. I consider the sufferings of this age not worthy to be compared to what is to come for those who place their faith in the King of kings and persevere in faith, day by day, until the end.

For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.

For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.

For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;

To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

Psalm 103:11-18

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