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What is the purpose of the ministry gifts?

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
(Eph. 4:11-12)

Years ago I was attending a Bible study at a fellow church members home. At the time I was not the pastor of a church. In fact, I was working in our family business and was ministering out of town on weekends.

I believe home Bible studies are crucial for Christians of all ages. There is just something about sitting around the living room with a little dessert and your Bible and sharing what God has done for you and hearing what God has done for others. Some home Bible studies are built on sharing testimonies along with the Word and others are built on a subject matter such as the study of grace, righteousness, end times, or evangelism. Either way, they are good.

However, a question that comes up from time to time is this. If we can study the Word by ourselves, then why do we need preachers? After all, we can study and learn everything they know. This is extremely dangerous territory.

It is true that everyone can study the Word and receive from God. However, God has those whom He has called for the special ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. When obedient, those called to these ministry gifts will have a special anointing to equip the saints of God for the work of the ministry. By doing this, the church will be built up, and we will come to the unity of the faith and grow in maturity. Many men have moved into the ministry as an occupation; but without the calling and anointing of God, their work will be limited to their physical abilities.

Jesus said the student is not greater than the teacher. We must understand that sheep need a shepherd who is called of God and that sheep without a shepherd, even though they may do their best, are open prey to the enemy.

Having been in ministry over forty years, I have this personal observation. Independent Bible studies are essential for the growth of young and old Christians alike. A minister does not have to be at every home Bible study, but every home Bible study should be led by a mature Christian and under the authority of the local church.

Larry Ollison Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Larry Ollison
Web site: Walk On the Water Faith Church
Dr. Larry Ollison is founder and Senior Pastor of Walk on the Water Faith Church and founder of Larry Ollison Ministries. With over forty years in the ministry, he is a very popular speaker nationally and internationally and ministers the Word of Faith through radio, television, Internet, and daily e-mail devotionals. As the author of eight books (including The Power of Grace, The Practical Handbook for Christian Living, Breaking the Cycle of Offense, Life is in the Blood, and recently released The Paradise of God), he is in frequent demand for radio/TV interviews, book signings, and magazine publications.

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