Ephesians 4:11 to 13 reads: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
The word equip is taken from the Greek word katartismus, which means to prepare someone, to train, repair, adjust, or impart.
This simply means that we move people from being spectators to participants, from watching from afar to actually taking part and becoming active as a functioning part of the body. There is the list of phrases and how they describe those who equip believers, being mostly apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, and these phrases are:
Trainers of the soldiers in army of the Lord,
Restorers of those in the body of Christ,
Framers of the boards of God’s house,
Exercisers of the muscles in Christ’s body,
Sharpeners of the stones in the temple of the Lord,
Adjusters of those who are out of joint,
Menders of those whose bones are broken and seers of potential for God’s service.
God designed the body of Christ to function at its best when each and every member is participating actively and not a few superstars.
There has always been different philosophical and doctrinal views of who should do the ministering to people of God during meetings.
The Old Testament model offered the man of God, the prophet, coming out of the cave or wilderness to work miracles, give a word from God, and then go back to the cave.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the trend was to have the highly publicised and promoted evangelist, the man of God who would come to an area to minister the anointing of the Holy Spirit with signs and wonders following. People flocked by the thousands to receive from this man of God. He was God’s voice, God’s hands, God’s vessel.
This image went to extremes at times as some of these perceived humble, anointed servants were sometimes not so humble and so anointed.
With clever promotion, a knowledge of crowd manipulation and control, they were seemingly successful.
There were some genuine men who were not manipulators at all. They had a gift of God, a call to do what they were doing and they possessed exceptional integrity. Their revival meetings were wonderful and lasted from one week to even 10 weeks. But reality soon set in. The meetings had to end. The evangelist had to move on, and deliver others in other places.
What happened then? What did the pastor do to bridge the gap between highly-intensified faith meetings, signs and wonders and a typical Sunday church service? And what about the altered perspective of the congregants? The people could not see their pastor — and for sure not Pastor Ncube, Dube, Shiri, Ngono, moving in the supernatural the way the evangelist did. They knew them too well. They bought their food at the same supermarket, they bought their suits and shoes at the same Chinese Mall or Oriental Plaza in South Africa.
Obviously, there was no possible faith to receive from those normal run-of-the-mill pastors. They needed the man of God, the prophet of God back. This is similar to what is happening in 2015. Congregants are exposed to all types of miracles, signs and wonders through the media and many meetings held all over by so-called prophets. A close look at those miracles is to discover that most of them are false.
Moving away from the “man of God syndrome”
This scenario represents a faulty theological stronghold that hinders the church from functioning as the Bible says it should. The New Testament offers a radically different model for ministry: The idea is that all of us in the body of Christ are priests and kings.
1 Peter 2:5 to 9 says: “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame’.
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone’, and A stone of stumbling and a rock of offence. They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
Revelation 1:6 states: “And has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Revelation 5:10 reads: “And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”
The New Testament established the value of each individual having the glory of God in his or her life. Each person has the potential to develop his or her own spiritual gifts with a promise of power, authority and influence. The ability to operate in the spiritual gifts is no longer the preserve of the “man of God”.
Mobilised for ministry: A call to all
Ephesians 4:12 to 16 states: “For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
The above scripture clearly states what all of us should do, not just the apostles and prophets and the rest of the five fold ministers.
Every saint should minister grace and impartation of strength to all who need it. We must encourage all people in the body of Christ to discover their capacities, aptitudes and abilities for the work of ministry and then help them refine their skills.
This generation is steeped in cultic heroes, Hollywood type superstars, “my man of God syndrome.” All this attention directed to leaders with Narcissistic tendencies, low self-esteem and big egos then produces the faulty theological mix we see today called the “man of God syndrome.”
We must develop a theology of impartation that begins with a proper respect for all members and their gifts in the body of Christ. The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:12 to 27 offers basic foundations for developing a body-of-Christ mentality. Ministry should not be tied to one minister, one man or one gift. God is not limited to one gifted leader, He is committed to the whole body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:16 reads: “From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
Overcoming the “man of God syndrome”
The “man of God syndrome” is brought into proper perspective when the whole body of Christ is properly esteemed and released. The problem with some leaders is the control factor: when authority becomes an issue of control, not release and delegation.
The theology of impartation irritates controllers or ego-ladden leaders. They fear letting go of the glory, the image, the place on a pedestal.
This creates the attitude of: “The more I do the more I am loved and needed, therefore, I do everything.”
This type of atmosphere does not raise sons in the ministry, but clowns and bootlickers and often it is only the “man of God” that is anointed, those around him are not because no anointing has been imparted to them, the anointing is only for the “man of God”. This kind of leadership insecurity hinders the releasing of the whole body to do the whole work of ministry.
Laity is often a synonym for amateur as opposed to professional. Or unqualified as compared to expert or not anointed as opposed to anointed or boy or girl of God as opposed to man or woman of God. Lay person is a scriptural word filled with dignity and honour. The faulty concept of placing our reliance on a few high-
powered leaders has cost the body of Christ dearly. The biblical emphasis is not on the omni-competent leader, but a multi-gifted body.
Exalting one gift or ministry above others in the body of Christ will negate the beauty and variety of a gift working body of people.
Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers and all the ascension gift ministries have a specific function, but it does not include being the superstar, the elite chosen one of God. If the church exalts superstars, then the church becomes an audience not a body.
In conclusion, the theology of impartation is best nurtured when there is a proper focus on the biblical model of all believers as priest and kings, as responsible, gift-bearing people.
The theology of impartation will be rightly developed when the ascension gift ministries that is the five fold, will do what they are called to do: Equip! Equip! Equip!
Ephesians 4:11 to 13 reads: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
Bishop Nyathi is the founder and senior pastor at Harvest House International Churches. He writes in his personal capacity.