Lionel J. Windsor, “The Work of Ministry in Ephesians 4:12.” Pages 1–25 in “Tend My Sheep”: The Word of God and Pastoral Ministry. Edited by Keith G. Condie. London: Latimer Trust, 2016.
Excerpted from ‘The Work of Ministry in Ephesians 4:12’, in “Tend My Sheep”: The Word of God and Pastoral Ministry ed. Keith G. Condie (London: Latimer Trust, 2016), pp. 1–25. Copyright © 2016.
The focus of this essay is on the phrase, ‘the work of ministry’ in Ephesians 4:12. The essay seeks some biblical precision and clarity about this phrase and draws out some implications for pastoral ministry today.
Often it is claimed that the biblical word ‘ministry’ (διακονία) is based on an original usage involving ‘waiting at tables’, and therefore that the word in the New Testament always carries connotations of ‘humble service.’ John N. Collins, however, has demonstrated that this claim is false. While the word is sometimes used of table-waiters, a more fundamental concept is the ‘go-between.’ Thus ‘ministry’ does not necessarily mean ‘humble service’. In Ephesians 4:12, the work of ‘ministry’ is more a matter of ‘bringing’ the saving gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to people.
What is the connection between the doctrine and exegesis of the Scriptures on the one hand, and the theology and practice of ministry on the other? The chapters of this book each reflect the belief that authentic pastoral ministry is grounded in the ministry of the word of God.
To oversee Christ’s flock is ‘a noble task’ but also a difficult task. The responsibilities and expectations of the job are numerous and weighty. Skills in leadership and management, the ability to communicate effectively in a variety of settings, the need to be a competent listener and counsellor – these things and more are required of those who exercise pastoral oversight, even of a small congregation.
And as pastors seek resources to assist them in their vocation, it is no wonder that many have found great benefit from the insights of the social sciences. The problem, however, is the seeming lack of connection between the doctrine and exegesis of the Scriptures on the one hand, and the theology and practice of ministry on the other.
The chapters that follow do not claim to offer an extensive critique or response to this issue. Rather, as they address some of its aspects, each reflects the belief that authentic pastoral ministry is grounded in the ministry of the word of God.
Published September 2016: 112 pages
ISBN: 978 1 906327 44 6
- Lionel Windsor, “The Work of Ministry in Ephesians 4:12”
- Mark D Thompson, “The Sufficient Word”
- David Peterson, “Pastoral Preaching”
- Peter Orr, “The Comfort of God and Pastoral Ministry: An Exegetical Study of 2 Corinthians 1:3–7”
- Keith Condie, “Richard Baxter’s Portrait of the Pastor”