the weblog of Alan Knox

Are Pastors Part of the Body?

Posted by on May 1, 2006 in community, elders, members | 6 comments

Consider the following (imaginary) statement:

Bro. Smith: Well, Bro. Jones, several of the men met together. We believe that it is time for you to move on to another ministry. Yes, we know that God called you to this church, and we believe that. However, we believe that God is now telling us that it is time for you to leave.

If this statement was made to a pastor, it would be troubling. But, what if this statement was spoken to someone who was not the pastor? What if “Bro. Jones” was just a “regular member” of the church? Would our feelings about this statement be any different?

Statements such as this are made to pastors far too regularly. We do not like it, but we understand that it happens, and we accept it. Why do we accept it? Because, we understand that, in reality, the pastor is not truly part of the body. We understand that the pastor came to our body from somewhere else, and we understand that eventually the pastor will move on. The pastor is not a “regular member.”

However, Scripture indicates that pastors ARE members of the body. And, pastors should be recognized from AMONG the body, not from OUTSIDE the body. There is not one instance in Scripture of a PASTOR/ELDER coming from outside the body. (Yes, I know that many times Timothy and Titus are considered elders, but Scripture does NOT call them elders. As a matter of fact, they were to appoint elders for the churches, not be elders themselves.)

Perhaps, when churches are seeking pastors/elders, they should seek those men among their own body instead of hiring others from outside.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 2-8-2007

    I guess then that we would all have to be willing to leave whatever it is we were doing in order to answer a call that has been communicated to us from other believers. If we are to be truly a body, then can we say “I have this path that I believe God has called me to follow” is spite of other believers telling us otherwise?

  2. 2-8-2007


    I don’t follow you. I’m not sure I understand what you are saying in your comment. I’ll be glad to reply, if you can restate what you are asking.



  3. 3-27-2007

    One of the ongoing issues any Christian has is hearing and responding to the voice of God. I agree with you regarding the pastor needing to be considered a part of the body, but my comment goes back to the issue of “hearing” God’s voice in the instruction of others. Consider a church member who is approached by several people in the church who encourage him to go to Ethiopia as a missionary. He’s never felt a calling to go before, and suddenly all these people are telling him it’s God’s will. Is it? Shouldn’t there be unity of purpose? Or can a call come like that? If a pastor is told by the elders that it’s time to move on, it may not be a symptom of the pastor not being considered a member of the body, but simply the movement of the Spirit. But experience proves the opposite. Too often the elders use God as an excuse, a Christian way of saying “I need to wash my hair tonight.”

  4. 3-27-2007


    I think I understand what you are saying now. And, yes, I believe that God can communicate His will for one person to other people. I think we see this in Acts 13 as one example. I think God would also communicate His will to the one being sent.


  5. 3-27-2007


    I am excited by the thoughts I am reading on your blog, both yours and your correspondents. Hope that’s not too undignified for an old elder.

    Elders ought to be recognised from amongst the local body of believers.

    It is my strong belief that this is one of the indications that a local group of people, calling themselves “church”, are authentic and not just the whim of a denomination or a “mother church”, wanting to enlarge their influence.

    Such a man is free to minister without having to spend long months, and even years, becoming acquainted with the local community, the needs of the local body, and the individuals in it.

    If such an elder is a true disciple-maker, rather than filling baptism and membership ambitions, elders worthy of that ministry will become extensions of his ministry, meeting the needs of congregations which will gradually divide from the original.

    Aussie John

  6. 3-27-2007

    Aussie John,

    Thanks again for the comment. I agree that elders should be chosen from among the congregation.

    One thing that I found very interesting is that some early Baptists used Song of Solomon 8:8 to justify finding their elders in other congregations. I still haven’t figured that one out yet.