Mark Dever, in What Is a Healthy Church?:
Before we consider what the Bible says churches should be, which we will do in the first few chapters, I want you to consider why I would pose this question to you, especially if you are not a pastor. After all, isn’t a book on the topic of healthy churches a book for pastors and church leaders?
It is for pastors, yes, but it’s also for every Christian. Remember: thats who the authors of the New Testament address.
When the churches in Galatia began listening to false teachers, Paul wrote to them and said, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ” (Gal 1:6).
Who was the “you” that Paul called to account for the false teaching in their churches? Not the pastors alone but the church bodies themselves. You’d expect him to write to the churches’ leaders and say, “Stop teaching that heresy!” But he doesn’t. He calls the whole church to account.
Likewise, when the church in the city of Corinth allowed for an adulterous relationship to continue unchecked in their midst, Paul again directly addressed the church (1 Corinthians 5). He didn’t tell the pastors or the staff to take care of the problem. He told the church to take care of it.
So it is with the majority of letters in the New Testament.
I trust the pastors of those first-century churches were listening as Paul and Peter, James and John, addressed their congregations. And I trust the pastors initiated and led the way in responding to whatever instructions the apostles gave in their letters.
Yet by following the apostles’ example and addressing you, pastor and members alike, I believe I’m placing responsibility where, humanly, it ultimately belongs.
You and all the members of your church, Christian, are finally responsible before God for what your church becomes, not your pastors and other leaders — you.