This week we are continuing to look at the ministries that God has given to equip and build up the body of Christ. The focus remains in Ephesians 4:11-13 “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the boy of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.…” Last week examined the evangelist and the week before we looked at apostles and prophets and briefly discussed female prophets and Junia, the female apostle of Romans 16:7. As we said, these offices, as well as the offices of evangelist, pastors and teachers still exist today. There is no biblical support that any of these offices, often referred to as the fivefold ministry have stopped. As this passage demonstrates, the purpose of these offices is to build up and equip the body of Christ and that task certainly continues to exist today.
The word that is translated pastor comes from the Greek, ποιμένας (poimenas) and is used in this form only once, although there are eighteen different forms of the same word that are all translated, shepherd. It is easy to conclude that a pastor, then, is someone who cares for the sheep and is not necessarily a preacher, although an argument can certainly be made that “caring” is also giving instruction.
Preacher is a different term; in the Greek it is κῆρυξ (kérux) in1 Timothy 2:7when Paul writes that he was appointed as a preacher and an apostle. This is also the same root word as occurs in Romans 10:15, “How then will they preach unless they are sent?” Again, Paul associates preaching with apostleship because “they are sent” comes from the Greek word meaning to send, sent one—apostle.
Some translations, of which the NIV is one, translate 1 Timothy 2:7 as a herald, yet leaves Romans 10:15 as preach. God’s World translation and the New Living Translation make it easier and say that Romans means to go and tell. Nevertheless, preaching is more often associated in the Bible with apostleship.
The term pastor certainly conveys the idea of caring for, looking out after and knowing your congregation and their needs, as a shepherd knows his sheep. The biblical model is found in John 10:1 and following. There Jesus is the shepherd who cares for the sheep, knows them all by name, and the sheep know his voice.
This is opposed to a rancher, who might have a lot of cows that he watches over, but a rancher has too many to know and call by name. For this cause, one could question the legitimacy of a Mega church. There is no way that a pastor of a church with thousands of people could single handily care for a congregation of that size. Furthermore, there is no Biblical model of a Mega church. However, Mega churches are most often managed through many small groups and those groups are led by associate pastors or teachers or leaders. The Mega church, while a different kind of model, exists in a different culture than the Book of Acts church but is no less Christian.
Therefore, in many places in the United States and elsewhere the call for a pastor doesn’t mean that he must preach. There are executive pastors, associate pastors, youth pastors and others. The key is that he must have a shepherd’s heart for the people under his care, know them by name, know their needs, and share in their burdens, grief and joys.
That brings us to the last of the fivefold ministry gifts, the teacher. By my saying last, I am not, in anyway, saying least. Just as Jesus referred to himself as a shepherd, he referred to himself as a teacher. John 13:13: “You call me teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am.” Jesus taught with authority, so much so that crowds were amazed. The Greek word for teacher that Jesus calls himself is the same as the teacher of Ephesians 4:11. It is Διδάσκαλος (didaskolos) and is where we get our English word, didactic. It means exactly what you think it means, one who teaches and the setting is irrelevant.
Teaching should never be thought of as “less than,” although it is unfortunate that many people sometimes treat it as such. The order of the words in Ephesians 4 has no significance and the passage in 1 Corinthians that refers to the giving of first, apostles, second prophets, etc. is not a hierarchy, but simply means first in time. All too often, well meaning Christians think that there is no higher calling than that of a Pastor, but scripture does not bear that out.
The calling of a teacher is no less from God and no less miraculous and the gifting is just as sure.
This article does not have space to consider the issue of women teaching, whether that be in the church or outside, whether that be to men or not. As already demonstrated Junia was a woman apostle, and Phoebe was a woman deacon (Rom 16:1,2), and as for a teacher, Apollos learned the way of the Lord from Aquilla AND PRISCILLA (Acts 18:26). Paul calls the both, Aquilla and Priscilla co-workers in Christ Jesus. There are many articles on women in ministry, the original Greek, and the cultural context of what Paul was saying, so I will only refer you to those at this time.
Are there gifts and calling of God other than those of the fivefold ministry found in Ephesians 4:11-13? The short answer is yes. We will visit those next week in our next article:
Fivefold Ministry; Is That All?