“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11-15)
God’s Provision For Growth
The Bible is clear that we as Christians should be in a continual state of growth. God established the offices of elders within the church for three main purposes:
- For The Perfecting Of The Saints – First, the elders are charged with preaching and teaching the Bible so that the saints may be perfected, made complete.
- For The Work Of The Ministry – Secondly, the elders are to coordinate and help with the work of the ministry, which includes sharing the Gospel, visiting the sick and elderly, and helping the poor.
- For The Edifying Of The Body Of Christ – Finally, the church offices were established so that the church, the body of Christ, can be edified, or to define the word: to “instruct or improve (someone) morally or intellectually.“
The elders are to instruct and encourage Growth.
What Is Spiritual Growth?
God tells us in His word that he expects us to grow so that we “be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness…“
Instead we are to grow up into Christ in all things. In other words, to grow to become more like Him. God not only expects this from His children, but He gives us the means for this growth: The word of God and His church.
2 Peter 3:18 tells us that we are to grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord, Jesus. This happens when we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him; when we read the Bible and seek Him, we see His example and follow it.
Growth is defined as increase in size or development. Growth requires the addition of new material. We grow in knowledge by adding knowledge to our lives. We grow in grace by adding grace to our lives. We grow in faith by adding faith to our lives. The Holy Ghost within us facilitates our growth by helping us apply what we learn to our lives, through the gifts of the Spirit we are given, and by comforting and guiding us through difficult growth periods.
Interestingly, God had a plan for our growth before we were ever born. The Church was, is, and will continue to be the means by which the body of Christ grows. In a Biblically modeled church, the members will grow because they are taught the word of God, and it is modeled for them in the lives of the elders. Not that the elders are perfect, but that they exemplify Christian growth for all those who attend. But each member has a responsibility to grow by learning from the teaching and applying the lessons of scripture to their own individual circumstances. We grow as we apply new experiences, knowledge, and wisdom to our own lives. The church is the place where this new knowledge, wisdom, and even some experiences can be acquired.
Christ desires you to be joined with a church that is governed and operated under Biblical standards, not man’s traditions. He commands us to assemble together and to encourage, exhort, and edify one another, using our own individual talents and gifts to both grow and promote growth in others.