Ephesians 4:11-12 reads, “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 faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
The Spirit’s focus in these verses is not God’s gift of servants or ministers to the church, but the task of discipleship they are to fulfill. They are to bring about the unity of faith, the intimate knowledge of God and the spiritual maturity of Christ Himself. These are not things that can be accomplished by human skill, ability or effort. Such discipleship can only be developed in the presence and power of God.
There are a number of spiritual disciplines and aids to spiritual maturity, but they all involve prayer. The most important thing a pastor can do to grow the church spiritually is to get people to pray as they have never prayed before. He must begin this by developing his own prayer life and then by praying for his church members.
The list of spiritual maturity begins with unity in faith. The two most important factors in developing spiritual unity are praying for one another and praying together. When this passage speaks of the knowledge of God it does not mean knowledge about God, but intimacy with God. The key factor in getting to know God personally is spending time with Him in prayer. I would also include reading the Bible prayerfully, prayerful obedience to what God is telling you and struggling in prayer through difficulties that you face. As we grow in prayer through the hardships and trials we must deal with, God’s Spirit matures our souls to become more and more like Jesus.