So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 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.
And just for good measure, the 1984 rendering:
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 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.
Translation isn't the point here, although it is interesting to see the subtle variations. The point is the role of leadership in the church. And the question I keep asking myself is this: Is this the pattern for leadership that we ought to be seeking to establish?
Let me put it this way. It would appear from Paul's argument that the primary purpose of a leadership team should be to equip the church to do the ministry and to do the ministry for the church. The church is meant to be an active participant in ministry not a full-time consumer of it. Surely the body image in the New Testament confirms that, and all that Paul says about each person having the full measure of the Spirit's anointing, a spiritual gift to be used for the common good and so points to a simple fact that the church is designed to do ministry more than it is designed to receive it.
And if this is true, then why do we persist in abdicating responsibility for ministry to a few highly trained individuals and not delegating it as a responsibility of all members of the body? Our whole ordination process sets us up for such a distinction that is in the end apparently quite unbiblical!
I will continue to ponder the implications of these verses and reread what either Michael Frost, Alan Hirsch or David Fitch has written about it. Unless of course it was someone else!