“In the church God has put all in place”.
1 Cor 12:28 GNB
Some groups of people are well-run, slickly operating, and highly effective organizations. They get the job, whatever it is, done; people admire the effectiveness of the management; people want to be associated with it because it carries the image of having to do with winners. Other groups are a mess; the leaders don’t lead; decisions are never taken, discipline is slack, no goal is ever achieved and from start to finish they give the impression of being “losers”. And no one wants to be a loser, nor to associate with other losers.
Paul was a strong personality, a fine thinker, and a capable leader. The churches he founded constantly referred problems to him and he gave wise advice. His letters to them are based on sound theological principles and in them he gives excellent guidance. He was also practical enough to know that an effective church could not just happen. He knew that in creation God brought order out of chaos and that he was – and is – a God of order. God did not want his church to be a shambles. Therefore he imposed order on this group of miscellaneous people from a variety of nationalities and cultural backgrounds. That order was in the form of what today we would call office-bearers. But they were more – they were ministries and they were appointed by God, not elected by popular democratic vote.
He still wants order in his church today, and he wants it to be an effective machine for mission and bringing people to Jesus Christ. It needs to be competent and well-run, – and full of love! – in order people to grow in grace and in the knowledge of God.
Lord, make your church orderly and effective.