Is it a One Man Show? or are elders pastors?
After many years of functioning as an "elder", but NOT as an "Elder" , we have at last realized that we are pastors. Not a Pastor, but a shepherd and elder with the responsibility to tend and feed God's people. -Not as a sole authority, but as one among others with various ministries, gifts, and callings in God's kingdom. All of the "five-fold" gifts of ministries are elders, but not all elders are five-fold ministers.
How did all this become evident?
For the past weeks, I have been reading, studying, and re-reading the book of Acts, in order to learn and understand what form of church government was observed, and what was preached, taught, and ministered, and the manner in which the disciples carried out the commands of Jesus.
In doing so, the Lord gave revelation from Acts 20:28 in which Paul told the elders, the "overseers" (bishops) of the church at Ephesus, to "take heed to yourselves, and all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost has made you (plural) overseers, to feed (other versions read "tend") the flock of God which he has purchased with His own blood".
Let's notice the Holy Ghost made them overseers, not an ordination certificate, voting them in, Bible College or Semitary (spelled that way on purpose), a denominational franchise, or a home missions board.
Whoops!, right there you just wiped off the organizational flow-chart, church hierarchy, and staff diagram from the Power Point screen with the Pastor at the top of the pyramid..
You mean the Holy Spirit calls people, qualifies them, and puts them in as overseers WITHOUT sending them to Bible School?
How in the name of the Nicolaitane clergy can that be?
When the Holy Spirit does so, He does not put ONE man in charge over the rest of the ministries like the Nicolaitanes do. (If you do not know what a Nicolaitane is, please refer to the articles on this site. Your pastor may not know, the Denominational President may not know, but God knew when He put that term in the scripture and said He "hates" it.)
What about those apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors, and evangelists?
They were all there too at the church at Ephesus and not a one was painted with a title, salaried, collected tithes, or in charge of a building program. No robed "Bishop", pope, Superintendent, Board, or frocked cardinal was seen in the entire church. -Quite a contrast to the local church scene, isn't it?
So we have found ourselves as functioning elders and helpers of the faith for many, feeding others from the Word itself, tending and caring for them, encouraging them, and even doing the work of an evangelist as we sow the seed of God's Word in many places. We are untitled servants of the Lord, who are not building their own kingdom nor looking with expectation of financial gain from those we minister to. God will see to it that our needs are met as He always has done as He told us in His Word.
We also find ourselves in the company of many others who have left Institutionalized Christianity which is quickly becoming an abominable apostate kingdom under the rule of men and women that no longer abide in scripture, and make merchandise of God's people.
These other elders function in their giftings and ministries as teachers, prophets, etc., and there are even a few apostles found, but the real ones don't sport titles, take tithes, or promote themselves.
The elders among you I exhort, who am a fellow-elder (Peter), and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2 Tend the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint (by controlling), but willingly, according to the will of God; nor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3 neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves ensamples to the flock.
Maybe you should pray for God to assemble you with others according to His Will, and if you are walking in the "bond of love", seeking His righteousness in overcoming the world and sin, our prayer and desire is to help equip you to be a Holy Spirit sent minister and equipping others to do likewise.
We are not about owning a bigger church barn, taking ownership of people, or being a "lord" over God's heritage. (1Peter 5:4)
We are no-name, no-bodies, called of God to feed, tend, and care for others that God has allotted us. Some of us work hard to get other sheep out of the mouths (words) of the wolves behind many a pulpit. Jesus is Chief Shepherd according to 1st Peter 5:4, and Psalm 23. "The Lord is my Shepherd (PASTOR) I shall not want".
If the Lord is your Shepherd, you will recognize His shepherdship in those untitled, unpaid servants He is raising up.
Pray for us elders that His love and tenderness will flow through us as we die to self and become vessels through which He manifests His Shepherdship.
Acts 15:2 ... Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
Acts 15:4 ... they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
Acts 15:6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
Acts 15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
Acts 15:23 ... The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.
Acts 16:4 ...they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
"feed the flock of God over which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers"
1 Tim 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
Today we were emailed another article on this, here is a witness. Leadership in the Early Church
1 Peter 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness
presbeteros Strongs 4245
elder, of age,
the elder of two people
advanced in life, an elder, a senior
a term of rank or office
among the Jews
members of the great council or Sanhedrin (because in early times the rulers of the people, judges, etc., were selected from elderly men)
of those who in separate cities managed public affairs and administered justice
among the Christians, those who presided over the assemblies (or churches) The NT uses the term bishop, elders, and presbyters interchangeably
the twenty four members of the heavenly Sanhedrin or court seated on thrones around the throne of God