Ministry for the Lord Jesus Christ for me requires me to wear two “hats.” I wear the pastor’s hat part of the time and I wear the apostle’s hat the
rest of the time. I have observed over the years that these two hats are really quite distinct and differ in their primary purposes for the benefit of the
Church. The pastor’s hat is much easier to define and perhaps the reason for this is that it is confined to a certain place with the purpose of
overseeing a certain family of believers. The apostle’s hat is a bit harder to define primarily because it involves such a wide range of responsibilities
and in my case are dispersed over twenty two nations. I mention my two hats concept because from these I can speak to certain church situations
from two vantage points.
One common problem I observe in the Body of Christ is the failure of far too many believers to ever achieve their Kingdom destiny. I find this
problem at both the pastoral level of ministry as well as at the apostolic level, meaning it is a universal problem that is not confined to just the
American arm of the Church. Even at the Eldership level many ordained ministers do not know to what ministry office they are called, and certainly
most saints have no understanding of what “body part” they are.
I lay this problem at the feet of us who stand in the sacred desk and minister the Word of God. We have failed to properly instruct the people of
God and the result is a weakened Church comprised mostly of pew-sitters that is far less fruitful than it should be. Use the military system as an
illustration. Each and every officer and enlisted man knows his place. He is trained to do a certain task and do it well. This breeds confidence in him to
function at top efficiency and to trust his fellow soldiers who are equally adept at their specific roles. Together they form a “well-oiled machine.” This
is precisely what the apostle Paul was trying to convey in Ephesians 4:11-16 when he writes, “…according to the effective working by which every part
does its share…” From this simple passage it is easy for us to deduce that each of us has a part to play in God’s overall plan. (See also Romans 12)
My opinion as to why this problem exists in the Church of Jesus Christ is that we who are called to shepherd the sheep of God have not moved the
saints above the level of self-administration, spiritually speaking. We emphasize things like personal holiness, self-control, self-improvement,
adherence to rules of conduct, the benefits of prayer, Bible study, etc. I believer these belong under the heading of the “elementary principles of
Christ” that Paul mentions in Hebrews 6:1. Each of these is good and all of are needful as we disciple believers; however, we must keep in mind that
our task is to bring each disciple into full maturity so they can be fruitful and powerful in the Kingdom of God. A milk diet will not achieve the
purposes of Jesus for His Church.
Step #1 is for each ordained minister to rightly understand his/her ministry office(s) as named in Ephesians 4:11 and to function under the
guidance of the Holy Spirit in that office(s). For example, if we have someone anointed by Jesus as an Evangelist trying to pastor a local church what
we really have is an evangelistic center that is probably quite fruitful in terms of harvesting the lost but more than likely deficient in discipling these
newborns into spiritual maturity. One’s anointing coincides with one’s calling which defines which ministry office we occupy. We cannot operate in full
measure in a calling that is not from Jesus because of the absence of His anointing. In other words, we are essentially on our own. That is not a good
place to be.
Step #2 is for every born again believer to understand his/her calling and gifts. There are good tools available to help Pastors and Elders assess the
calling and gifts of the saints in our church. Let’s use them. Then let us develop plans of action that elevate the saints from pew-sitters to powerful
ambassadors for Christ and become functioning “body parts” in their local church.
We have entered the critical stage of Church history; I believe this to be the end of the Church age and the close of time as we know it here on
earth is upon us. This is no time for the Church to be weak or disjointed. We must rise up in the power of unity by the Holy Spirit and be the Church.
We no longer have the luxury of time to undo mistakes. The time for trial runs or testing the water is over, this is the age Isaiah the prophet saw:
“Arise, shine, for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.” The army of God is forming in this last and final generation; we
are standing up in the power of truth declaring the manifold wisdom of God to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. Each one who is
called by the name of the Lord will occupy his/her place in this army and together we will occupy in power until Jesus returns. Come quickly Lord
Raising Up The Army of the Lord
By Bishop Randy Barnett