Saints are to be engaged in the work of ministry, and an end or goal is maturity in Christ, until we become like him fully. We do this in part by speaking the truth in love, thus promoting healthy growth of individual believers, and thus of the whole church. (Short term numerical growth, or defense from decline, is never a positive thing if it comes at the cost of truth, at the cost of individual growth and maturity. True congregational health and growth comes out of the health and growth of individuals in the congregation, particularly its pastors and lay leaders. Inherrent in this text are notions of growth and change toward maturity – a process that is often painful whether in our individual lives, families, or organizations we love. We need God’s grace to bring us through these difficult things in one piece/peace.
The gifts he gave were that:
some would be apostles ~ some prophets,
some evangelists ~ some pastors
and [some] teachers,
To equip the saints for the work of ministry
([i.e.] for building up the body of Christ)
Until all of us come:
to unity (of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, )
to maturity (to the measure of the full stature of Christ.)
We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro,
blown about by every wind of doctrine,
by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.
RATHER, speaking the truth in love,
we must grow up in every way
into him who is the head, into Christ,
from whom the whole body, joined and knit together
by every ligament with which it is equipped,
as each part is working properly,
promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.