I think we’ve all been there before. When you want to know about what a church is like you go to their website and click on one thing: CHURCH STAFF, or LEADERSHIP. We do this because we know (for better or for worse) the church will look like or reflect it’s leaders. So there you are, viewing descriptions of a church staff or its leaders: who they are, where they went to school, what their hobbies are, etc. When you do this have you ever asked yourself the following questions: Why do churches have staff? What are church staff supposed to do? What is the purpose of church staff?
Most of us do not have the correct answers to such questions, but thankfully God gives us just that. The right answer to this question comes to us in Ephesians 4:11-16 where Paul says:
And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
What are church staff and what do they do? See the multifaceted answer to this one question in this passage.
First, the what. God gave His Church Prophets and Apostles. It was these men who wrote the Scripture. It is their teaching that provides the basis for all other sound teaching. Thus the evangelists, teachers, and shepherds that God gives His Church are to be those who teach, not their own created doctrines or beliefs; but the doctrines and beliefs already given to us in the Scripture.
Second, the why. God gives His Church teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry and in this way the body of Christ is built up. Pastors are teachers, who preach, teach, and labor not to do ministry, but to facilitate ministry. Don’t get me wrong, pastors are to do ministry, but their ministry is to teach others to do ministry, so that the whole body begins to minister to one another. In this way a congregation is built up into the fullness of Christ.
Third, the goal of church staff. God gives His Church teachers and pastors so that the Church would be mature and united. Maturity and unity is to come about as the pastors teach the congregation to do the works of ministry among the congregation. When this happens a church will attain unity in faith and maturity and because of this they will grow up in every way in the Head of the Church, Jesus.
Fourth, the consequences. When this is actually done rightly. When a church hires church staff for the purpose of facilitating ministry rather than doing ministry, the congregation is built up in unity and maturity. When there is unity and maturity ‘the manifold wisdom of God is communicated through the local church to the watching world.’ (Eph. 3:10)
Therefore, your church staff isn’t designed to do ministry for you, your church staff is designed by God to move you toward ministry and equip you for the work of ministry. If your church isn’t mature or unified perhaps it’s because your church staff isn’t functioning in the manner God intends them too?