Growing the Church Through Biblical Training

The Purpose of Training

(Ephesians 4:11-14)

God has all along wanted each Christian to know and serve Him. 1 Peter 2:9 and Revelations 1:6 calls all of God’s people as His ‘priests.’ Hebrews 4 clearly articulates the special privilege of all of God’s people to handle God’s holy Word.

After those days, says the Lord:
I will put My laws into their minds,
And I will write them upon their hearts….
For all shall know Me (Hebrews 8:10-11).

The Reformation went far in teaching about the priesthood of the believers but didn’t sufficiently train them or utilize them in service. We are hardly trying to be critical. They faced many obstacles. But it is time that we faced the facts that God wants all of His people trained to serve.[6] This is exactly what we find here in this Ephesians 4 picture of the church.[7]

Ephesians 4:11-14


Future Action

4:11      And he gave some [to be] apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Notice how God saw the need and supplied certain leaders with gifts and positions to train and protect the sheep.

God will be calling and raising leaders from among our congregations to pastor and teach.

4:12      for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ:

The goal is simply to build up the saints so that they can serve. As the Christians are built up, so the whole body of Christ is established as each serves the other.

The teaching leaders of the church needs to be diligent to equip each Christian so that they can be involved in the ministry to the saints.

4:13      till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

The end goal requires an ongoing process. The whole process of training comes to light when we keep focused on the goal (the vision).  This is our mission.

We need to establish the church in such a way that it keeps growing. Programs sounds like a bad word (and can be) if they don’t lead God’s people hungrily along to the next stage closer to the ultimate goal.

4:14      that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error.

Without this persistent training, Christians will stumble and fall. God has given us the key to growing strong godly people. We need to be aggressive in training them.

Christians face innumerable dangers. We cannot identify all these errors. Instead we need to teach the truth so that they individually know and love God’s Word.


Ephesians 4:11-14 then clearly teaches us that the key to keeping our people from falling aside (4:14) is to train them up (4:11-13). Our people are to be trained so that they themselves can serve.

Theological and Practical Concerns

I remember when I first heard this teaching in my church back in the early 1970s from Ray Stedman’s book called ‘Body Life.’ But why is it that many churches have never implemented it? Was it the excesses of the charismatic movement? Was it traditionalism? Was it the thought that they are guarding the truth? If we are not humbled by the statistics of these past thirty years, we will not have any congregation left to believe the truth in the next ten years.[8]

I am very concerned with orthodoxy. I know the importance of guarding the truth. The problem is that secularism and professionalism has crawled in under our bed covers and made us sterile. On the other hand, I have seen the positive effects of training individuals. This is the key to strong growth in some Christian organizations. The problem is that we have not brought this training into the church.

Each church then is comprised of a core leadership team (hopefully not just the senior pastor!) who are gifted to oversee the whole church. These would be the pastors, elders, missionaries and teachers.   They are there to equip the other Christians to minister to other less mature Christians in the faith. The purpose of training these Christian laymen is not only to give them a strong faith but to enable them to pass the strong faith on.

It is imperative to integrate this purpose of training into our minds and ministries. This teaching forces us to rethink how and why ministry is done in the church. This model assumes the value and importance of every Christian. As growing Christian is a serving Christian. We all are priests of the great Lord.[9] We all need to be holy not just to be acceptable to the Lord but so that we can help strengthen the people of God. Many training programs fail because they do not have this overall vision keeping the ultimate purposes of the training right out in front of them.

Let's look at how The Flow works along with its diagram next.
Biblical Foundations for Freedom

by Paul J. Bucknell

[6] I personally believe that this is because God wants everyone to use their God-given gifts and thus receive greater blessings in the world to come. God doesn’t want to limit His blessing to a few chosen leaders in the church.

[7] These concepts of Ephesians 4 are not new, but they have not been widely disseminated or implemented.

[8] Just count how many godly twenty-year-olds are in your congregation.

[9] The scriptures clearly teach that women should minister to other women and their children.