“So, how many ministers do you have at Ingleside?” the person asked. If answered in the customary way the reply could have been somewhere between eight and thirteen, depending on how you count. If answered in a biblical way, the number of ministers at Ingleside is more than 1,000!
A key passage of Scripture that informs our answer to this question and should shape our thinking about a healthy church says:
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, (Ephesians 4:11-12, ESV)
According to this passage, who is to do “the work of ministry”? The biblical answer is, “the saints.” Or, as other versions translate, “God’s people” (NIV, NLT, GNT).
And what is the role of the pastors? The ESV translates, “to equip the saints for the work of ministry.” Or, as NIV puts it, “to prepare God’s people for works of service.” Or, as The Message paraphrase says, “to train Christians in skilled servant work.”
So, it would be good, biblical thinking to conclude that while not all are pastors, God intends for all of his people to be ministers. For years, we have said it this way: “At Ingleside we believe that God intends for every member to be a minister.” Or, “On the ship called Ingleside there are no passengers; we are all crew!”
This is a principle from Scripture that we have long embraced and put into practice. In fact, it’s such an important principle that back in 1998 we included it in our Church Bylaws, which state:
Ministry Teams shall be developed by the pastoral and program staff to more effectively mobilize members for ministry. The pastoral and program staff will have primary responsibility for identifying, recruiting, equipping, deploying, and leading all members to be in ministry (cf. Eph 4:11-13).
Today when we look across our congregation, we find that more than 1,000 of our members have clearly identified roles of ministry or places of service at Ingleside. It’s a good start, but we are not done. Our goal is “every member a minister.”
Have you found your place of ministry and service yet? If so, thank you. If not, please connect with one of our pastors soon. We will help you find your place to serve. And when you do, the body of Christ will be edified and God will be greatly glorified!