The leaders in a church (staff, deacons or elders, teachers, administrators, musicians, etc.) are primarily to help God’s people grow to Christlikeness. Or as Paul said, God gifted the leaders “for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness” (Eph. 4:12-13).
This is every leader’s first and primary responsibility. It is not merely setting goals and efficiently organizing and running activities for church growth. God will “add to the body” (i.e. take care of church growth). That is what Christ promised to His disciples from the beginning: “I will build My church” (Matt. 16:18).
Because I knew that every leader, in whatever place of responsibility, was first assigned to edify, I would have an instruction time at the beginning of each church year for our church leaders. I would remind them not to put their work or ministry assignment first. Their primary assignment was to assist each member under their care toward Christlikeness. As leaders, they were to work together to make sure this was accomplished. For example, though the finance committee handled the financial matters of the church, or the missions committee was to guide the church to be on mission with God, it was still the primary task of each leader to help each member of their committee to grow toward Christlikeness as disciples of Him. It was in the context of their ministry assignment that their primary assignment of building up the body could happen. IF they were faithful to the primary assignment, they would get their work done.
- A God-Centered Church by Henry and Melvin Blackaby