Summary: Leaders are equippers. It requires hard work. It renders our work to become more effective. It rests on teaching the word of God.
One of the most thought-‐provoking articles I’ve read lately is “8 Reasons Most Churches Never Break the 200 Attendance Mark.”1 Now the author Carey Nieuwhof is not saying that it is a sin to be a small church. He just analyzed why it stays small.
Nieuwhof clarifies that it is not about a lack of desire to grow. Most leaders want their churches to reach more people. It is not about a lack of prayer. These small churches are incredibly faithful in prayer. It is not about a lack of love. Smaller churches enjoy closer fellowship more than mega-‐churches. It is not about a lack of facility. Nieuwhof wrote, “Growth can start in the most unlikely places.”2
So, why do these churches never break the 200-‐ attendance barrier? We will not look at all the 8 reasons. But according to Nieuwhof, the number one reason why “churches who want to grow end up staying small [even if they] have a solid mission, theology and heart to reach people” is that “[t]he pastor is the primary caregiver.”3
He wrote, “Honestly, if you just push past this one issue, you will have made a ton of progress. When the pastor has to visit every sick person, do every wedding, funeral and make regular house calls, he becomes incapable of doing other things. That model just doesn’t scale. If you’re good at it, you’ll grow the church to 200 people and then disappoint people when you can’t get to every event any more. Or you’ll just burn out. It creates false expectations and so many people get hurt in the process.”
If God truly called the pastor to be the primary caregiver, I have no problem with that. But we really have to make sure that that is his responsibility. This morning we will look at Ephesians 4:11-12 and 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 to see what leaders are called to do—not just the pastor but also all the church leaders as well. Here we will see that LEADERS ARE EQUIPPERS, not caregivers. Let us pray first...
The Apostle Paul wrote most of his letters to deal with specific problems in the churches. However, the book of Ephesians was different. It was not to settle an issue in the church but it was to show an ideal of the church.
Now that’s a very important distinction to remember. We cannot just apply a solution to every situation in the church because we have to make sure first that we have the very same problem that called for that solution. But, since Paul wrote Ephesians to show God’s original intent for the church, it is directly applicable to us.
In Ephesians 4:11-‐12, we see the job descriptions of both the leaders and the members of the church. “And [Christ] gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ”.4 For the sake of time, we will not discuss why I believe we no longer have apostles and prophets today. I just want to highlight some important words here. I also want to clarify that when we say “leaders” we are not just talking of the pastor but the church board and the rest of the leaders such as ministry heads.