Cause and Effect — [kawz-uh nd-i-fekt] adjective — noting a relationship between actions or events such that one or more are the result of the other or others.
Kids learn about cause and effect every year in elementary school. The learning is deemed critical because understanding cause and effect helps children make wise choices. For example, kids are more likely to eat vegetables, study for tests, etc., if they understand the effect each cause has. Doctors utilize the principles of cause and effect every day as they encourage patients to be involved in improving their health. If you eat healthy, you feel better. If you eat more calories than you burn, you get fat. If you get plenty of sleep, you are more likely to fight off sickness. Our bodies are impacted daily by cause and effect. And according to Ephesians 4:11-13, the body of Christ is affected deeply by a very significant cause. Let me explain. When it comes to the Church in the US, there are two prominent problems we know to be true:
- Churches struggle to train leaders. In fact, we recently discovered that less than 25% of all church leaders have a plan to train their people for ministry.
- As a whole, we know that the Church in America is not healthy and is declining in influence.
Are these two problems related? Does one cause the other?
In the research field, researches are very hesitant to assert causation but much more comfortable inferring that there is a strong correlation. In other words, a researcher would more likely say that there is a significant relationship between a church not being healthy and the leaders of the church not training people for ministry. The apostle Paul states the case much stronger:
And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. (Ephesians 4:11-13, HCSB)
According to this text, the body of Christ is built up when church leaders train people for ministry. There is a simple and holy cause and effect found in the passage. When pastors stop merely doing ministry and start training others for ministry, the body of Christ is more healthy – even measured by Christ’s fullness.
Make the training of God’s people your cause.