The Circle of Life

According to Ephesians 4:11-12, the job of a teacher/pastor is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry.

A teacher/pastor’s approach to equipping the saints usually looks like one of these three models:


  1. The first model refers to the pastor who spends most of his time responding to pastoral needs. The large P stands for pastoral responsibilities. The letter E, a combination of an L and an E, represents the tasks of leading and equipping. Notice how little attention is given to this role—and understandably so. Something must go to leave times for one’s personal life, represented by the small inner circle (family time, recreation, sleep, personal worship, etc.) The bad news is that this pastor fails to lead and equip the people to do the work of the ministry. The good news is that the pastor stays relatively sane.
  2. The second model represents the pastor whose entire life is filled with church, both pastoring and leading and equipping. Unfortunately, the personal life gets pushed aside. These imbalances are often excused and praised as evidence of hark work and faithfulness to the call of God.
  3. The model on the far right represents the balanced life of a pastor who applies Ephesians 4:11-12 to his or her ministry. Her primary task is to equip the saints, yet she does keep an appropriate time allotted to her life for pastoral and personal responsibilities.

NOTE:  This concept of needing to training people to do the work instead of teachers/pastors doing it all, comes from Randy Pope’s book, The Prevailing Church.

So, a few questions to consider:

  • Do you agree with these three approaches?  Would you add any others?  Which do you see as most prominent within your church?
  •  Where do you find yourself funtioning mostly within as a pastor/teacher?
  • How does the congregation allow for the pastors to do their job of equipping the saints?  Is there a paradox in wanting them to lead and equip, while still thinking they have to handle every “pastoral/care” duty of the church?  If so, how can a church rid a congregations false expectations that a pastor must “do it all” and allow for other “saints” to do the work of the ministry?

~ by Dave Smith on March 15, 2008.

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