Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
-Ephesians 4:12 (NLT)
I got this idea that leaders in the church are to be impresarios. Impresario is an Italian word that was first used in 1746, to mean “operatic manager”. The impresario was the person who hired the composer, the singers, rented the hall, and sold tickets; to put on an opera.
The literal meaning of impresario is to be an undertaker of business. In a word, impresarios are ‘connectors’. Impresarios pull people together, they connect people into their place. They pull people and ideas together. That is what “equipping” means. It means to ‘set in place”, as in when a bone needs to be re-set.
The impresario is a showman or showwoman. People will say, “who is responsible for pulling this all together?” The impresario was. But the church is not a show, as in an entertainment, that gets your mind off your troubles for a few hours, like an opera. The church showcases the greatest show on earth, and Jesus Christ as the star.
Impresarios help people to ‘get it’. We all need to connect to one another, we all need to connect to our giftings and abilities to minister or serve, and we all need to connect to God and God’s mission to save and disciple. Leaders are impresarios who connect people to ‘get it’. They help people ‘get it’ about what their gifts are and how God can use them to serve, to minister, and to build up the church.
God’s people do God’s work, which is ministry or service. God’s people also build up or edify the church, which is the body of Christ. People in the role of leader in the church are not the ones who do the ministry or the service or the edifying of the church. The leader’s role is to help God’s people to be in the right place and shine in their God-given gifts.
You might be convinced that leaders are supposed to equip or connect God’s people to their God-given gifts, ministries, or services, as figurative ‘impresarios’. But how is this done, might be the next question.
Connection happens in relationship. Relationship happens in community. Impresarios do what they do in community. When we commune, we get to know each other, and those with the gift to connect, can help us connect to our gifts, role, or function.
I think the church needs to move from sages on stages to guides by our sides.
The top picture is from a free pdf book, designed by:
Johnson Cheng, Tom Harman, Rina Krevat, Paul Quigley, Matt Radcliffe, and Jodi Sagorin