“Leadership Gifts” they’ve been called. “Offices,” others say. Oh, and let’s not forget “Ministry” gifts for “Ministers.” How we define and apply those gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 will determine how effective their use is within in any local grouping of members in the Body of Christ. Some ideed have limited these gifts to leadership, but without scriptural support, I think. Consider Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. “ Who are the “each ones” that Paul was referring to? There is no other possible conclusion but every single believer. Leading will rise out of the development and use of these gifts. Leadership is not thrust upon the gifts.
Some have suggested that Elders be appointed based on their gifting in the Ephesians 4:11 sense rather than the qualifications clearly laid out on scripture. 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, etc. By this critical error, we wedge an unwarranted clergy/laity distinction amongst the members of the church. Ephesians 4:11 is for all believers for all time “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.“ Ephesians 4:13 We do further damage to the cause of Christ when we call non-elders with these gifts “lay leaders.” “Lay Leaders,” is a Body-Breaking, not Body Building term. Consider a few questions:
1. What does the New Testament say regarding the manner in which the church is to appoint elders?
2. Does the New Testament support any hierarchical structure within the church? Where?
3. Doesn’t giving oneself or others the title of “Prophet,” “Apostle,” “Evangelist,” “Teacher,” or even “Pastor,” contradict the very heart of Christ?