Commissioning Service for Mark du Bord

February 24, 2012 Preacher: Cameron Arensen

Today is a significant day in the life of our church, as we commission Pastor Mark to the work of the ministry here at ECC. As we do this, I think it is helpful to remind ourselves of how this event fits into the larger mission of ECC.

Most of you are probably familiar with our church motto: From the nations…to the nations.

Our web site further reads: Our purpose is to introduce people to the Lord Jesus Christ, help them grow in their faith and equip them for ministry both here and around the world.

A more complete statement read this way: to glorify God in word and deed and to serve him in the power of the Holy Spirit with the goal of bringing unbelievers to faith in Christ and bringing believers to maturity in Christ.

I especially want to focus on the goal of bringing unbelievers to faith in Christ and bringing believers to maturity in Christ.

It is really one goal, but it has two parts to it. Let me show you a chart that helps me keep the big picture in mind.

(Show model on screens)

You may remember seeing this before, but Christie Eckardt has made it look a lot nicer. I try to share this with you regularly because I think it clearly expresses what we are all about as a church. It is a chart that represents different levels of spiritual development relative to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It helps me to think of it this way. Everyone we contact, everyone who walks through the doors of this building, in fact, everyone in the room today falls somewhere on this chart. Our goal as a church, to put it as simply as possible, is to meet people where they are and seek to influence them to move up the scale. “Movin’ on up!”

This bar in the middle represents the most significant transition. This is the point at which an individual passes from death to life and from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. But there is lots of work that needs to be done both above and below the bar. On the one hand, we need to understand that a person who is at a -5 or -4 is highly unlikely to make a decision to follow Christ through a single conversation or by hearing a single sermon. On the other hand, we need to realize that our task is not complete when someone prays a prayer to trust in Christ. This sets them on a journey toward spiritual maturity and effective service and we have a responsibility to aid them in that journey.

Our mission as a church is to do all we can to aid each individual we come in contact with to progress in their spiritual journey. If they are below the bar, we want to bring them up to and across the threshold into the community of faith. If they are above the line, we want to help them on toward maturity. This is our goal and our mission.
Let me share how we try to make this work in the way we lay out our staff job descriptions and areas of responsibility. We commissioning Pastor Mark today. Some of you have come and asked: “What exactly is Mark going to be doing?”

I can best answer that by comparing the responsibilities and job descriptions of others on the staff.

As senior pastor, my job description states that I am to provide leadership to enable ECC to fulfill its mission statement… So I am responsible, with the board, to guide the overall process.

Priscilla Wilson carries the leadership responsibility to fulfill our two-fold goal with the children of ECC.

Chris and Ronali Bruce lead our ministry in seeking to bring teen agers to faith in Christ and help them grow to spiritual maturity.

The key comparison is between Pastor Joe and Pastor Mark.

Pastor Joe’s title is Pastor of Evangelism and Church Planting. You haven’t seen him much on Fridays and he is not here today he because he is preaching at the Off-Island Church, part of our strategy for extending our ministry to the fast growing communities off the island. Joe also oversees our missions (Christian works) program, as well as developing strategy and training to help us fulfill our goal of leading unbelievers to Christ.

Pastor Mark’s title is Pastor of Discipleship and Christian Growth. If I can relate it back to the chart, while Joe has primary responsibility for ministries “below the line”, Mark will have primary oversight responsibility for strategy and ministries to adults “above the line” in bringing believers to maturity in Christ.

His responsibilities will include providing pastoral encouragement and strategy to all of our adult ministries: men’s ministry, women’s ministry, adult Bible studies and training, family living classes, home fellowships; the host of different things we do as a church to encourage people toward spiritual growth.

Let me read from the Scripture to show you the strategy behind all of this. In Ephesians 4:11-16:

11 It was he (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, (without bogging down in trying to define these different offices or titles, I would equate these with the church staff. Christ “gives” these people to the church. But notice carefully what their function is to be.) 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

The staff has an important role. But our primary role is not to do the work of the ministry, but to equip you, the members of the church, God’s people, to do the work of the ministry.

(Call up board for prayer.)