Eternal God, to whom the hidden is as clearly known as the visible:
before you your people bow their heads,
to you they submit their hard hearts and unruly bodies.
Send down blessing from your glorious dwelling on these men and women,
lend them a ready ear and answer their prayers.
Set them up firmly with your strong hand
and protect them against all evil passions.
Preserve their bodies and souls,
increase their faith and fear and increase ours,
through your only Son.
Hippolytus of Rome, 170-236, priest and ecclesiastical writer
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church:
the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.