The Benefits of Ecclesial Work

 “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work"  (Eph 4:16.NIV).

In order to run the race, we must try to understand the benefits of ecclesial work. 

The Head of the Ecclesia:  And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the Ecclesia.  Instead, speaking  the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, of the ecclesia.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the ecclesia, his body, of which he is the Saviour.  He is the head of the body, the ecclesia, he is the beginning and the first born from among the dead, so that in every thing he might have the supremacy.

Spiritual Growth: In fruitfulness:  Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up with him who is the head, that is Christ.

Spiritual Progress:. The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon.  The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.  Therefore be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.

Spiritual Love:  Here, we see that love counts more than any other thing on earth. And live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision or uncircumcision has any value.  The only thing that counts is faith, expressing itself through love.  But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.  So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith and I pray that, you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.  And to know this love that surpasses knowledge –  that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity, and so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love, whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

The purpose of the Ecclesia

The ecclesia is Christ’s Church, not ours.  Jesus founded the ecclesia, died for the ecclesia and will one day return for his ecclelsia. As the owner of the ecclesia, he has already established the purpose of it and it is not negotiable.  Our duty is to discover and try to understand the purpose Christ had for the ecclesia and to implement it.  The ecclesial programmes may change with time, but the purpose remains the same.  We may be innovative at times in the style of ministry, but we must never alter the substance of it.

The importance of being purpose driven is that nothing precedes purpose.  The starting point for everything should be the question; “Why do we exist?”  Until we know what our ecclesia exists for, we have no foundation, no motivation and no direction for the ministry.  A purpose reduces frustration because it allows us to forget about things that don’t really matter.  A clear purpose not only defines what we intend to do, but it defines what we do not intend to do.  No ecclesia has the time to do everything.  The good news is that God doesn’t expect us to do everything.  Besides, there are only a few things really worth doing in the first place.  The secret of effectiveness is to know what really counts, then do what really counts and stop worrying about things and distractions around us.

In my opinion, most ecclesias try to do too much.  This is one of the overlooked barriers to building a healthy ecclesia.  We wear people out.  Too often small ecclesias involve themselves in all kinds of activities and programmes instead of concentrating on the essentials; they dabble in forty different things and miss being good at any of them.  Being efficient is not the same as being effective.  Peter Drucker says that efficiency is doing things right, effectiveness is doing the right thing at the right time.

Many ecclesias are efficient in that they are organised and maintain a full state of programmes.  But while they generate a lot of activity, there is little productivity because energy is wasted on trivial issues. God wants ecclesias to be effective and concentrate on their purpose.  By continually reviewing our purposes we can prioritise and strengthen our ecclesia’s focus.

A clear purpose attracts co-operation

People want to join an ecclesia that knows where it’s going.  When an ecclesia clearly communicates it is thus, in action, people are eager to get on board.  This is because everyone is looking for something that gives meaning, purpose and direction to life.

When Ezra told the people exactly what God expected them to do the people responded, “Tell us how to proceed in setting things straight, and we will fully co-operate.”  (Ezra.10:4).  If we want our members to get excited about ecclesial activity, support it and generously give to it, we must vividly explain up front exactly where we are heading, which is the Kingdom of God.

Bro. Igani Eteng (Calabar, Nigeria)

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