Without the Word of God, a ministry has nothing transformational to offer because the Lord uses His truth to change hearts and sanctify people. If leaders are not consumed with the Word, ministry will be shallow and discipleship will be scarce. Ministry leaders must care deeply about what the church believes about God. They must continually be teaching and guarding the faith delivered to the saints once and for all (Jude 3). The apostle Paul warned the elders at the church of Ephesus:
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock that the Holy Spirit has appointed you to as overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. And men will rise up from your own number with deviant doctrines to lure the disciples into following them. (Acts 20:28-30)
The passion for the Word of God among the people in a church likely will not surpass the passion of the ministry leaders. The sheep can be severely harmed if ministry leaders stop teaching the truth and guarding the flock from error. With that in mind, here are three actions ministry leaders must continually take:
1. Develop theologically minded leaders.
Ministry leaders must develop other leaders to think, know, cherish, and defend the doctrine of the church. If a senior leader is the only one who thinks deeply about how the practice of the church is rooted in the theology of the church, then the church could easily drift without the senior leader’s presence.
2. Systematically feed the people.
The Lord has entrusted a local body of believers to your care. Just as people who care for their bodies eat healthy and enjoy a balanced diet, a local body of believers won’t be healthy unless it is well fed. A.W. Tozer said, “Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian,” so systematically plan to teach your people the whole counsel of God.
3. Think beyond the pulpit.
Many church leaders mistakenly think almost solely about the pulpit when thinking about how the church is shepherded in doctrine. Ministry leaders must accept responsibility not only for the teaching that happens during worship gatherings but also for the teaching throughout the whole church. Sadly, many leaders have no idea what is being taught in groups or to their kids and students. Ministry leaders must ensure the gospel and sound doctrine are being communicated in all teaching ministries—including kids, students, and groups.