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Sunday, August 2, 2009

XXXVI. Pastorized

(Some confusion of my statements caused others not to understand, so this has been edited. Hopefully it makes better sense. If not, I have two watching over my words and will guide me more. Some of the comments now may seem like they don't belong, but I used them in my editing)

There are four characteristics of a good pastor. To understand how these four describe a pastor we need to know what a pastor really is. The word that is used in the New Testament we get pastor from is the Greek word "poimen", which means to shepherd. However, there is a more direct translation into English from Latin (spelled the same way). To put it into clarification, it is one chosen by God to guide His people and watch over them spiritually, such as a shepherd does with sheep.

There are two types of pastors or shepherds. There is the preacher/teacher who is hired as the giver of the Word every Sunday morning to a local congregation. He is a spiritual leader. He feeds the sheep the Word of God. And there is an elder. An elder is also a spiritual leader but also needs to run the affairs of the church. He sheperds by making sure things going on in the congregation is sound, biblical, and correct in doctrine. An elder also has different titles that he can go by: bishop, overseer, episkopo, presbyter, even congregational leader. They all mean the same thing, i.e., shepherd.

A common mistake by too many churches is that they say the preacher is an elder. And that is not necessarily accurate. A preacher can be an elder but doesn't have to be one and is not automatically one. Or to sum it up: an elder is a always a preacher, but a preacher is not always an elder. The scripture that people will distort for this view is 1 Timothy 5:17
  • The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.

Somehow the words pastor and preacher became the same word and excluded elder and that would not be completely accurate. That is not what this passage is saying. It is saying that some preachers will come from the eldership. Not all elders preach. But one who does preaching is especially worthy of a high honor. Too many times churches that are small or ones with weak leadership allow the "pastor" or even claim the "pastor" to be the chairman of the elders when in actuality the "pastor" is only the preacher and is also under the authority of the elders.

Pastors (both types) are visionaries. They see the way a church can grow and be lead. But they present their ideas to the eldership. The eldership should pray about it and see if the vision is from God or from man. Too many times the visions come from man and his own ideas and that causes pride. It becomes his project instead of God's. So with this in mind let's look at what a good pastor does (in this case, this is referring to both types of pastors).

  1. Preaches Christ-centered sermons. 2 Corinthians 4:5 says that when we preach so to speak, we should do so not to uplift ourselves but to spread the word that Jesus is the Christ. If a pastor preaches about how well the church does all the time and what it stands for then that pastor is not fulfilling his job. If a church is doing well, it doesn't needed to be patted on the back. It is supposed to be doing good things. What the pastor should do is always have a sermon that makes Christ the center of all things. That doesn't mean that once on a while they can talk about problems we all face but they still need to make sure that Christ is somewhere in the lesson. Some pastors (preachers, ministers) spend too much time on just prophetic messages or financial freedom. These are fine to talk about but too many focus on those things.
  2. Shepherds the flock with a tender heart. If you take Jeremiah 3:15, Ezekiel 34:23 and Acts 20:28 it is easy to understand this. Acts says it clearly that we need to watch out for ourselves and for all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed us over as overseer. Be shepherds. But when they do lead as Jeremiah says, they should do so with understanding and knowledge. In other words they shouldn't be judgemental and/or harsh when they are pastoring. They need to lead such as a shepherd does with his flock. He doesn't whip the sheep, he gently nudges them back into the herd.
  3. Watches over people and keeps them accountable. Hebrews 13:17 says that leaders need to be obeyed because they watch over us in a spiritual way. And we need to be careful for them as well because they will be held accountable for us. Too many times people leave the church due to some situation, whether it be a physical, emotional, or spiritual problem that has risen. But even worse, when a spiritual matter arises and the pastor does nothing about it and the person leaves then bad blood, if you will, has been spilled and no one cleaned it up. If it is a spiritual matter then it is the job of a pastor to clean it up. If it is a emotional problem, then it is someone with the gift of counseling to intervene. If it is a physical problem, then most of the time it is the problem of that individual and nothing really can be done.
  4. Teaches and gently instructs. 2 Timothy 2:25 says that if someone is hurt or needs help that we should teach them (or oppose them) gently. Because the person may have gone through a lot to get to where they are at and if they see a spiritual leader take them down just like the world did then what separates us from the rest of the world? A pastor needs to be able to take some of the heat yet not dish any of the heat out.

So in essence a pastor needs to be a spiritual example that leads with compassion, understanding and knowledge. He needs to be tough yet gentle in his ways. The ego needs to be checked yet the vision needs to be explored. He does not have to come from a Bible Seminary but has to be God-lead. He is a spiritual leader but not the spiritual leader.

23 comments:

No Doubt said...

Even though I agree with what you have written, could you elaborate on where you get the concept of a pastor?

Gozreht said...

Well, the root concept is from Greek, poimen as already stated. But the actual word we use is Latin. Both mean "to shepherd". I would imagine that this is a play on words. Christians are the sheep of His (Christ)pasture. Peter was told to feed His sheep or in other words, be a shepherd- hence pastor, a spiritual leader.

I hope that helps you see what I am saying. If you have any insight to other refernces or beginnings, please let us know. There may be more to this term than meets the eye.

No Doubt said...

I'm sorry. Let me ask the question a different way. I thought you were implying that these were the qualifications of a head pastor. If I'm wrong, I apoligize. If I'm correct, then my question is where in the Bible do you find the concept of a head pastor?

Gozreht said...

Biblically speaking there is no such thing as a head pastor. That doesn't mean you can't have one but by all means scripture does not say anything about it. However, there are specific people who stand out and lead over others, e.g., Aaron over the Levites, but that may be a different topic. The problem is churches hire people to be "senior pastor" and think that it has to be that way, when it doesn't.

No Doubt said...

Doesn't the scriptures imply specifically that the local church should be under the leadership of the eldership under the headship of the Messiah?

The example of Aaron over the Levites, or Isreal is no longer valid as the High Priest position was eliminated as a "man" position by the Messiah himself.

Gozreht said...

I think it is more than just an implication. I don't see how you can look at it any other way, except if there was an apostle around then I would expand it some. But I feel elders today are local apostles anyway. Not the same as Apostles such as "The Twelve", but ones with authority, i.e., laying on of hands, annointing with oil, ordaining others and such.

I knew the example of Aaaron was a weak one, but it was an example of how even though we have elders (tribes leaders) we still had spiritual leaders as well. But what you said is true, that since Jesus came, he took the position of the high priest.

No Doubt said...

Then we agree that the local church should not have a head pastor?

You know I'm very sensitive concerning the leadership of the local body of believers. I'm actually surprised that you brought up the concept when you know all too well how the position of "head pastor" can be abused.

There should never be a "CEO" type of leadership within the church. Far too many times, the mission of the church is transformed into the head pastors mission instead of a Christ led and bibically based vision. Again, you personally have experience this.

"And that's all I got to say about that."

BTW, I too believe that the elders are local apostles, but not the ones that are voted into office based on a popularity contest. That's not biblical either.

Gozreht said...

Why wouldn't I bring it up? It is a subject that many churches are dealing with that has run amok to where the pastor becomes the president of the organization or the CEO of a company. I believe there is a pastor of each church. Maybe there is one that is more knowledgeable, consistent and/or (fill in blank with something positive), but he is not necessarily an elder or one with huge authority. But he most certainly can be an elder and in that case he is worth double honor.

He by no means should "overrule" any other elder.

The topic of electing is still iffy. True the Bible doesn't say to elect but the only example we get is when Paul tells Timothy to appoint men. Could that be a one case scenario due to where Timothy was or who he was?

The problem with not electing is then some may only appoint "yes men". The problem with electing is then you get a popularity contest going. It is a dilemma. And the only other alternative I can see is if someone of a high authority comes around and says, "This man should be an elder". But who is that high? Spiritually speaking of course. The eleven drew lots to see who would move on with them. I have a problem with that but it wasn't my call so I can't argue.

No Doubt said...

OK....I'm totally confused.

In your blog, it appears that you support the unbiblical principle of a head pastor.

However, when responding to my question,

"Doesn't the scriptures imply specifically that the local church should be under the leadership of the eldership under the headship of the Messiah?

You said,

"I think it is more than just an implication. I don't see how you can look at it any other way"

giving the alusion that you agree.

Then, in your last comment you said,

"I believe there is a pastor of each church."

You have my head spinning.

Where do you stand?

I definately confused.

No Doubt said...

"The topic of electing is still iffy."

"The eleven drew lots to see who would move on with them. I have a problem with that..."

You're iffy about a non-biblically based concept and you have a problem with a biblically based concept.

My friend, I agape you but we have got to talk.

Unless I've totally misunderstood this blog.

No Doubt said...

One last thing. You have based your blog on one word, poiman.

Please look up archipoimen. You might be surprised how that changes you thinking.

Of course, I will retract all and apologize if I have misread you.

Gozreht said...

Well, this should be a place to learn. So you should go ahead and explain your idea of pastor. We may be already agreeing but you kept asking questions :)

Scripture says there are five offices of the church (some say it's only four-doesn't matter). Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers.

I think today's elder are basically all of these. The pastor is the one who delivers God's word. People will follow him since he should present the truth. He shepherds (poimen) them with gentle words and should try and bring people into the flock safely.

When I said there is no head pastor that is because I was bringing in the mistake of todays churches when they hire a pastor who then becomes "the leader", automatically, which I do not support. I think the best area to choose your pastor (the giver of the word) is from the eldership. But today we focus on the Bible Seminaries to cookie cut them into our churches...blah! And then they automatically become an elder...blah!

It's not confusing in my own head so please give your idea and then we'll compare. Two bald heads are better then three. Two great minds are better than one.

How many examples do we have in the bible of choosing elders? Paul tells Timothy and Titus to do it and with guidelines. That's all I can find. Are you saying they all should be appointed? Perhaps I agree but by whom?

archpoimen is of course Christ, but that doesn't change anything. He is the head of everything. When He reutrns there is no need for any office, gift, scripture or anything since He will fulfill all that is done.

But after all this you still need to tell everyone here what your idea is so we can learn.

No Doubt said...

If you don't mind, I'm going to give my total response over the next few days. I didn't want to bog your blog with a long dissertation. As I began to write this response, I realized that it would also make a good entry for Perceptions. Therefore, please forgive the format. Trust me it will make sense. I want to build the argument.

POINT ONE:

One the continuing problems within the Body of Christ is the establishment of a hierarchy from which men attempt to rule over the flock. They do this even though Y’shua says in Rev 2:6:

“… thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”

And in Rev 2:15:

“So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.”

Here in these two verses, we have Y’shua stating that he hates the deeds and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. But who are the Nicolaitans? Let’s look at what the word actually means as quoted from the Schofield Reference Bible.

"From Nakao, to conquer and Laos, the people or laity. There is however, no ancient authority for a sect of Nicolaitans. If the word is symbolic, it refers to the earliest form of the notion of a priestly order, or clergy, which later divided an equal brotherhood into priests and laity. What in Ephesus were deeds (Rev. 2:6) had become in Pergamos, a doctrine (Rev. 2:15)."

The Nicolaitans were and are those who divide the flock into the laity and those who rule over them with unbiblical principles and/or doctines.

No Doubt said...

Who are the legitimate leaders and who are the imposters?

When the Apostles began churches, who did they ordain?

“Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” Acts 14:22-23

When Sh’aul (Paul) and Barnabas wanted a decision concerning circumcision, who did they go to?

“… should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.” Acts 15:2

Who received them?

“And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and [of] the apostles and elders…” Acts 15:4

Who considered this important matter?

“And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.” Acts 15:6

Consistently throughout the rest of the bible, who was it that received Paul into their midst, that Paul sent letters to and Paul called into a meeting with?

Elders, Elders and Elders.

There is no doubt that the Apostles were leaders. That goes without saying. However, right there with the Apostles were the Elders.

Isn’t it interesting to note who’s conspicuously missing?

Gozreht said...

So far so good No Doubt! There is nothing we disagree with yet at all. Maybe in the future :)

Pastor, again to me, is the one who delivers the message in the ways I have described.

Is he an elder? Could be. Does he have to be one? No. Is he automatically one? No! Is an elder automatically a pastor? This I say yes to.

I am hoping to hear the rest of what you have to say soon. I don't think you disagree with me as much as you first thought.

No Doubt said...

Next, let’s first take a look at the supposed office of bishop. Man has built the office and a whole denomination out of two words, bishop, episcope, episkopos. Now let’s look at what the words actually mean.

Overseership, office, charge, the office of an elder, the overseer or presiding officers of a Christian church.

Look, imagine that, an elder. A bishop is an elder. Bishop describes a characteristic of a elder. Elevating an elder above his normal position within the body of Christ goes against the word of G-d. Therefore bishop is a trumped up by man word, not an office ordained by G-d.

Head Pastor or Senior Minister.

Once again, let’s look at what the word means. Pastor????????? Wait a second, pastor isn’t in the original manuscripts. Ask any sholar what pastor means and they will tell you shepherd. OK, lets look at the scriptures, more specifically the brit hadashah or New Testament. Pastors or specifically, shepherds are the overseers of the Christian assemblies. Wow……can we say elder?

Of the 18 times it appears, 16 times it refers to…………the Messiah. Imagine that. One time it’s a verb not a noun which brings us to our conclusion and the verse that has cause the body of Christ so much pain and hardship, Ephesians 4:11-12.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

First of all, let’s strip away the words that are not actually in the verse, just for clarification.

And indeed, he gave apostles, prophets and evangelists and shepherds especially teachers for the make complete the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. Eph 4:11-12

Apostles, Prophets and evangelists to the Body of Christ are those with a mission external to a specific assembly of believers. Shepherds and teachers are those within a specific body with an internal mission to oversee, complete the saints for the work of ministry and building up the body of Christ.

Elders are not those 4, 5, 6 etc men that you vote into “office”. Not to say that there aren’t some elders within that group. True elders are mature spiritual leaders, men and women. They are the ones that shepherd or pastor the flock by following the true HEAD PASTOR and shepherd and bishop of our souls, G-d.

With all that said, Yeshua foresaw the “head pastor” debacle and said this:

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my [sheep], and am known of mine.

John 10:11-14

Doesn’t that sound like a whole lot of supposed “head pastors” within the Body of Christ today?

I can't leave without bringing up the fact that the church loves to put labels and create postions that are not biblical. A great example of this is the label, Trinity. Everyone loves to point to one verse and say, "Our G-d is a triune G-d", while totally ignoring the Sh-ma. Hear O'Israel, the Lord or God is one. The church loves to point to 1John 5:7

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

while ignoring the following verse

1Jn 5:8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

Please notice that there are at least six aspects of our Lord and G-d, not three. Are we now going to teach that G-d is a six-fold G-d. No, because G-d is much more, but he is one G-d.

Again, my aim here is not to belabor the point but to get you to break free of tradition of man and cling on to the full counsel of G-d.

Sorry for going long.

Shalom Aleichem,

Elder John said...

Well this is lively. First I think using Latin just confuses the issue since no NT scriptures were ever written in Latin. Paul in his discourse to the Ephesian Elders in Acts 20 gives some telling information.

He calls the elders and says they were to be on guard for the flock which the Holy Spirit had made them "overseers" Episkopos, to shepherd or poimen the flock

So we have their title - Elder
their work - overseeing
and how it was to be done - shepherding

Elders are always in the plural and never with an archpoimen on earth. this title is reserved for Messiah Jesus.

Second there iis no confusion about the offices Paul mentions. Apostle, Prophet, evangelist and Pastor and teacher. the phrase "He gave some as" appears in betwee each except for Pastor and Teacher. More accurately it could read Pastor teachers

As for the passage that tell us who is worthy of double honor it does not include elders who do not preach as you seem to suggest. The double honor is for those who "rule well" that is the primary thrust of Pauls writing. his secondary thrust are the ones not who preach but who labor hard or work hard at preaching. all elders are to preach the word accurately and defend it diligently

Apostles? hardly! an aostle is one who is sent and would more accurately align with an evangelist or church planter or missionary. An Elder is a located position and not one sent.

The authority of the elders is in their plurality and not their individuality and so this idea of a senior pastor or ceo is unscriptural

John

Gozreht said...

I like what both of you are saying. And I would agree but it would mean I have to change my mind. :)

Seriously, you both have very good and consistent points. And I will agree with you.

ElderJohn,
I used Latin because most translation in English have pastor in the verse you posted. I would much rather use Greek, but even more I would like the Hebrew word to be used. But I will disagree that although it does stress that elders are double worthy who lead well, it also says "especially those who preach and teach". So someone from the eldership probably should work in that capacity, shouldn't they? Or is that open for someone from the flock to do? This is where I see a "pastor" coming in. Maybe it's not a biblical term. Is it wrong to call someone that?

I say an elder is local apostle such as to say "one with authority". But I see what you are saying about being sent, since that is a definition. A better term for apostle anyway is emissary.

The good news is we all agree that there is no such thing as a head pastor or senior pastor biblically speaking except for Jesus Christ. Too many churches allow this one man to make all of the decisions and they (including the elders) follow him.

Thanks guys for adding some insight to this topic. Maybe someone is listening who will make necessary changes.

Take care and keep posting so we all can learn.

Elder John said...

Tim

While I hate to be a nit picker, Well not really, I love nit picking. you said

" But I will disagree that although it does stress that elders are double worthy who lead well, it also says "especially those who preach and teach".

But that is not what paul said. He said especially those who "WORK HARD AT" preaching and teaching. those who make it their main ministry or main thrust.

you seem to be saying an elder is worthy if he preaches and teaches and that is quite different. As I said previously preaching and teaching is the "feeding" he is commanded to do. to give God's people a diet of solid and nutricious food from His word. Those who make this their main ministry are to be commended but all are to do so.

PS
I posted much of this discussion on my blog so we can get feed back from both sides. I have already heard from one Elder who emailed me on it. It seems this is a hot topic these days

John

Gozreht said...

John,

That is why I am trying to edit my thoughts. I did not clarify anything and confused two scholars! I did not mean to say that an elder is worthy only if he preaches. So I will try and redo it again here. Let me give you a different translation from the CJB.

"The leaders who lead well should be considered worthy of double honor, especially those working hard at communication the Word and at teaching."

To me this is saying a lot of things. 1)just because a person is an elder doesn't necessarily mean he is doing what he is supposed to be doing-hence Paul's warnings to Timothy to try and get the best men there, 2) those who lead well are double worthy, 3)there are those who not only are an elder but also preach the Word of God, 4) and if they commit their life to preaching they have even more honor, not taking away the importance of an elder!!!

I think the reason why I created this "thought" is because I see the one who preaches becoming too big for their britches. Somehow the one who preaches has become the symbol of the church and usually gets thrusted into the leadership of the church. I do not see that biblically being correct. I do see someone needed to preach. I feel that this is a type of pastoring (shepherding) and teaching. But I do not feel that this person is THEE leader nor even has to be part of the eldership, another form of pastoring (shepherding). But if the preacher comes from the eldership and is good at it then that may be the best scenario.

I am taking what you and Keith (no doubt) are saying and am trying to rewrite the original thought. We're really not saying too much in difference. I just for some reason can not put my full thoughts down and explain it.

I am glad you are posting here so others can hear you. It is a hot topic because of the way the churches have been and what they are moving towards. I don't like either one, which is why I created this whole blog site.

For those who do not know John, he and I have corresponded for the last three or four years. A man full of knowledge, and can tell you where almost every word in the language comes from! His link is on the front page of "Christian Thoughts".

No Doubt said...

Elder John,

"The authority of the elders is in their plurality and not their individuality and so this idea of a senior pastor or ceo is unscriptural"

That is so right. I hope you don't mind, I'm going to use this quote. It's from G-d any way. :-)

No Doubt said...

Mr. Tim,

I know the written word comes across harsh at times. I hope you realize it's all in love, my brother.

I know how you really feel about this subject. However, it didn't seem to be comming across that way. We both need prodding at times. A skill, at which, we are both adept.

Elder John said...

Keith

You can use any of my quotes. I will send you a bill this week :)
But you are right it is Gods word and He graciously allows us to preach them.

Tim

Sadly the main preacher does get all the attention much like the warning Paul gave against singling out the more glitzy gifts. All gifts like all servants are from God and serve differing purposes but are equally important to the body.

We four elders all preach so I guess we share th spot ligth for a wek and then fall into mediocrity until next month. Thank you for your kind words, back at you, for sure

John

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