the weblog of Alan Knox

Honest Questions About Elders/Pastors

Posted by on Jun 30, 2010 in elders | 36 comments

Honest Questions About Elders/Pastors

I have an honest question about elders (or pastors, if you prefer). (“Honest” means that I’m actually asking for answers…)

For most of my life (including today), I have heard something like this: “Elders (pastors) are responsible for the teaching/preaching ministry of the church.”

Sometimes, I hear it this way: “The senior pastor is responsible for the teaching/preaching ministry of the church.”

Now, in context, the statement usually means (at least) teaching/preaching to the congregation once per week (usually more often).

But, here’s my honest question: Can this position be justified from Scripture? If so, how?

Like I said, this is an honest question. I would appreciate comments in answer to this question (these questions), especially from those who agree with the positions stated above.


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

  1. 6-30-2010

    The key word here, I believe, is “responsible.” Not that the elder/pastor/bishop is exclusively authorized to preach or teach, but that he is accountable for the current of preaching and teaching in the local body.

    This is, of course, one of those situations where we see the term and ask, “What does it mean to be or do this in our particular context?” From 1 Peter 5:1-4 I infer that the church “rulers” of the time were characterized three ways:

    * “elder”–they had the mature wisdom that comes from experience, able thereby to discern true from false, practical from impractical, essential from peripheral.

    * “overseer” (note that when the halves of the Greek epi-skopos are flipped over to their Latin counterparts they become the more recognizable super-visor)–they are expected to keep an eye on the group’s activity, enhancing those actions (by group or individual) that were good and deterring those that weren’t.

    * “shepherd” (“pastor”)–they were expected to “feed,” nurture, and protect.

    From 1 Timothy 5:17 we know that elders/etc. did preach and teach, but I wouldn’t say that they were the only ones who were authorized to do so. Still, if any unhealthy preaching/teaching occurred–and I’d count both formal and informal spreading of information within the group (which would include gossip, no?)–they would be the ones responsible for recognizing and addressing it.

    “Once a week,” and so forth–now you’re talking about how we turn a Function into a Program, which is always uncertain ground not directly addressed by Scripture.

  2. 6-30-2010

    I think of Ephesians 4 and 1 Timothy 5 (“those whose work is preaching/teaching”) off the top of my head.

    I like the way Michael framed the question.

    There is no doubt that sometimes churches turn an elders responsibility into an exclusive function. At that point I completely disagree.

  3. 6-30-2010

    Michael and Mark,

    Of the things mentioned (by Michael), which are specifically the responsibilities of elders (because they are elders), and which are the responsibilities of all believers?

    For example, you said, “…They [elders] would be the ones responsible for recognizing and addressing it [unhealthy preaching/teaching].” Why are elders responsible and not any believers? (By the way, I think this is probably the crux of my original questions.)


  4. 6-30-2010

    I am so glad for the men who have devoted themselves to my care over the years. We are all to submit to one another, and elders lead us in submitting to others exceptionally well. After experiencing their care, and watching their sacrifice for me and others, it is easy to submit to such, even as to all my brothers and sisters.

    Elders do not share responsibilities for the saints alone; they simply excel at it. I see lots of responsibilities that are shared by all the saints. For example, here are some of the responsibilities of every saint (including elders):

    (1) Walk worthy, Eph 4:1,2
    (2) Be living sacrifices, Rom 12:1,2
    (3) Obey (be persuadable by) elders, Heb 13:7, 13, 24
    (4) Honor elders, I Thess 5:12,13; I Tim 5:17
    (5) Honor one another, Rom 12:3, 10
    (6) Honor widows, I Tim 5:3
    (7) Honor all men, I Pet 2:17
    (8) Minister to one another using our gift(s), I Pet 4:10, 11; Eph 4:16; Rom 12:6-9; Gal 5:13
    (9) Be kindly affectioned one to another, Rom 12:10
    (10) Be of the same mind with one another, Rom 12:16
    (11) Accept one another, Rom 15:7
    (12) Admonish one another, Rom 15:14; Gal 6:1
    (13) Bear one anothers burdens, Gal 6:2
    (14) Encourage one another, I Thess 5:11
    (15) Exhort one another, Heb 10:24,25
    (16) Use hospitality one to another, Rom 12:13; I Pet 4:9; III Jn 5-8

    Elders, based on their motivation of love and willingness to sacrifice for others, become

    (1) Guides (coaches, leading by their example), I Tim 3:5; 5:17; Heb 13:7, 17
    (2) Models (examples), I pet 5:3; Titus 2:7
    (3) Teachers (privately and publicly, but not so as to suffocate the work of the saints), I Tim 3:2; II Tim 2:2, 23-26
    (4) Equippers (for ministry) Eph 4:16
    (5) Guards (themselves as well as the flock), Heb 13:17; Acts 20:28-31
    (6) Admonishers (including mutual accountability), I Thess 5:12-14
    (7) Pray-ers (laboriously), Acts 6:4
    (8) Available, (trusted through experience and safe) so that they develop intimate knowledge of other believers. Acts 20:18-35; II Cor 11:28

  5. 6-30-2010

    Whoops, (4) Equippers (for ministry) Eph 4:16 should be Eph 4:11-12. Eph 4:16 is for every saint (sort of a cascading thing when in motion–these verses a snapshot of frozen time)

  6. 6-30-2010


    Fifty years ago I would have answered similarly to our brethren who have ably replied.

    Now, and gradually developing over the last fifteen years, my answer would be “No”.

    We are ALL to be disciple makers, a task which belongs to EVERY believer, and MUST include most of the functions mentioned by the previous respondents. Elders are to oversee this universal function, not appear to overshadow or rule in any way.

  7. 6-30-2010

    > “Why are elders responsible and not any believers?”

    Oh, I see! Okay, then, here’s my take on that: “no” to part B, “yes” to part A.

    I wouldn’t say that “any believers” aren’t responsible; that goes with the “build up one another” territory. Rather, elders are particularly responsible because this function is logically part of the “oversight”-guarding-caretaking function of the “shepherds.” Those of us with wisdom to recognize and address a problem (being mindful of the Galatians 6:1-2 caveats) owe it to our brothers and sisters to be involved and not simply “let Pastor Jack handle it”; on the other hand, a pastor is accountable for how he cares for the “flock,” and therefore had better be involved as needed.

  8. 6-30-2010

    Isn’t every believer accountable for how he or she cares for others? (It is interesting that episkopeo (to oversee) is used for all believers in Heb 12:15)


  9. 6-30-2010

    Maybe this is outside the scope of the question but I wonder on a different level why we have to have elders / deacons to begin with? Paul had a way of organizing the churches under his care…why do we have to duplicate it? What was Paul after? Paul’s letters are an inspired record of how he did “church” but I don’t know that it necessitates that we follow his method / terminology, etc.

  10. 7-1-2010

    I was reading in 1 Timothy last night. I see Timothy more as church planter (like Paul) then a pastor/elder of a particular church … but Paul tells Timothy in chapter one to make sure “they teach no other doctrine.” In other words, Timothy’s job was to protect these churches from allowing false doctrine and teaching to creep in.
    In fact, it seems to me that Paul spends a lot more time in the New Testament telling churches what not to teach then what to teach. I personally believe the function of the overseer/elder/pastor is simply to allow and cultivate the mutual teaching and sharing of the church while making sure it does exceed the boundaries and behavior of New Testament doctrine.
    Paul also says in 1 Timothy 2:5 (the same book in which he gives the qualifications for elders and deacons) that there is ONE mediator between God and man … “the man Christ Jesus.” So, perhaps the function of an elder is more like that of a referee … they are not responsible for the action, but they set it in motion and keep it under control.

  11. 7-1-2010

    YYes and No.

    I attempted a brief answer on my blog.

  12. 7-1-2010

    One of the best questions you’ve asked. We’re in the process of asking how the learning process can be informed by the community, as opposed to a single person. I think there is such value in the collective wisdom, not only for what we would think of as the “right answer” but in people exploring their own learning.

    I wonder if we’re so afraid of the wrong answer that we create a culture where only the right answers are allowed, which curtails learning. Yet in most endeavors it is failure and wrestling through that which creates the learning.

  13. 7-1-2010


    Good question. We know that churches existed before they had elders (i.e. Acts 14:34). It’s possible that other churches never had people called elders, but were called different things (maybe “leaders”?). However, it does seem that all churches in Scripture eventually had some who were recognized as being more mature as followers of Christ. You might enjoy a post I wrote called “Are pastors good for nothing?


    I’m not sure about the “under control” part. Do you think that others (besides elders) could (and should) also address issues of false teaching?


    Thanks for your response. I think it is an honest examination of both Scripture and modern practice.


    I think you may be on to something. We’re also examining and using different ideas of community teaching.


  14. 7-1-2010


    My comment wasn’t meant to indicate that “pastors” hold the task of oversight exclusively. The “one another” passages of Scripture indicate a mutuality of oversight. It took me a long time to learn the lesson that despite people being given the tag “pastor”, there were often others who were better gifted than they, to function in ways in which “pastors” have traditionally been expected to do.

    Far too many “pastors” make the serious mistake I did early on, and jealously guard their so-called “position” and “authority”.

    Many congregations expect that to be the case; after all they are then absolved of responsibility.

  15. 7-1-2010

    I don’t think the POSITION of “pastor”, as we know it today, can be justified at all. The scriptural reference to “pastor” isn’t to a position at all, and I think we in the church get hung up on “positions”. We are all kings and priests, and therefore no one has preeminence in the body save Christ. That being said, I do believe that the function of an elder is present in the body, and Paul even gives requirements that an elder must meet. I think where the modern mindset misses it is in attributing to elders a level of “authority” over the body, as if they function “over” the rest of the body. On the contrary, elders should lead from AMONG the body, leading by example. I see it as a difference between positional and functional authority.

    I guess I agree with what Art wrote regarding elders. The individuals that I would consider elders in my life have my trust because of the devotion they’ve shown to others, to the Lord, and because of their maturity in Christ. It is not feasible to just pick someone and make them an elder, if the Spirit hasn’t already built them into that role from a functional standpoint. Certainly all members of the body are responsible for doctrinal integrity, etc., but I believe the elders, by virtue of their maturity, and specifically empowered by their plurality, have an ability to receive direction from the Lord regarding these issues. This is not so they can “lord it over”, as again they are to lead by their service to the body.

  16. 7-2-2010

    Which brings up a point, you become an elder by eldering. Not by schooling, not by business success, not because you are a good speaker.

    Over time, you listen to people, you care about their journey, you help them and ask for help, you become entangled by incremental invitation. You sacrifice in many ways–foremost by devoting yourself to Christ, to becoming His slave, then as a result, using your time to advance the growth of others and not your own career, using your resources to comfort and encourage others rather than to satisfy your own lusts, and in time, rather than your own needs.

    In time, your fellow saints will recognize you as an elder, if you elder well.

  17. 7-2-2010

    Aussie John,

    I agree. I think we often miss the nuance of what happens when we begin shifting “responsibility” more toward one individual or group… the responsibility or function naturally shifts away from all others. Thus, we miss the “one anothering” that is so crucial to our growth.


    Great explanation. As I see it, if a person is not acting as an elder before that person is recognized/appointed by the church as an elder, then that person should not be recognized/appointed. Of course, that means that the person is doing everything an elder should do BEFORE he is an elder.


    I don’t necessarily think of “elder” as something that is done. Instead, I think of “elder” as a recognition by the church that someone is doing well (or at least consistently) everything that all believers should be doing.


  18. 7-2-2010

    Ahaha! Yes, I agree! That is a distinction that adds a great deal of light.

  19. 7-2-2010




  20. 7-9-2010

    Alan – Grew up hearing similar stuff about pastors.

    IMO – Not of much of what we see **Today,** with “Pastors/leaders,”
    has any reference in scripture.

    When searching for what a “Pastor/Leader” does **Today**
    in the Bible, I had a very rude awakening. :-(

    I found…

    NO – Pastors – in Pulpits – Preaching – to People – in Pews.
    …… When folks come together, every one has a psalm, has a doctrine,
    …… has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. 1 Cor 14:26.
    …… Every one can and is expected to participate. Today we have pew potatoes.
    NO “disciple of Christ” “calling” another brethren – Pastor, or “My” Pastor.
    NO “disciple of Christ” “calling” them self – Pastor or Leader.
    ……”ALL” disciples called themselves “Servants of Christ.” Hmmm?
    NO “disciple of Christ” having the “Title”or “Position” – “Pastor/Leader.”
    …… Today that “Title” is written on – Diploma’s on walls, business cards,
    …… office doors, Sunday morning bulletins, street signs, websites, etc..
    …… And everyone knows who the “Pastor/Leader” is. Why?
    …… Jesus, humbled Himself, made Himself of NO reputation,
    ……. took on the form of a “Servant.” Could that “Title” be an “Idol?”
    NO “disciple of Christ” “Exercising Authority” over another believer.
    …… I was taught; You submit to me, NOW, your “God Ordained Authority,”
    …… And, one day, when you’re a Pastor, people will submit to you. :-(
    ……. Power. Profit, and Prestige, is highly esteemed among men. Guilty. Oy Vey!
    NO – Pastors, separating themselves from the body, as “Clergy-class.”
    NO – Pastors counseling anyone.
    NO – Pastors marrying anyone.
    NO – Pastors burying anyone.
    NO – Pastors visiting the sick.
    NO – Pastors wearing special clothes.
    NO – Pastors going from one congregation to another. What’s up with that?
    …… Elders, plural, matured within the group, when, if, appointed, they were known.
    …… Pastor, Paid, Professional, is hired, NOT known.

    **My people** have been **lost sheep**
    **their shepherds** have caused them to go astray…
    Jer 50:6

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice;
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice.
    If Not Now, When?

  21. 7-9-2010

    A. Amos Love,

    Welcome back! It’s good to see you around here again.


  22. 9-26-2010

    I definitely hear what A. Amos is saying… and I agree…

    I am confused and could use some clarity —

    in the NT – the word shepherd is used to describe the leaders in the church isn’t it? (not an office or a person designated to be the leader… but the mature respected ones in the community who were leading by example).

    Ephesians 4 maybe? So though there is 1 shepherd – john 10:16 says so — why did they use that term in the NT at least once not speakin of Jesus alone?

  23. 9-28-2010


    You write..
    “in the NT – the word shepherd is used to describe the leaders in the church isn’t it?”

    Best I can figure, in the NT – Shepherd = poimen – is 18 times. Once as pastors. Eph 4:11

    IMO – Poimen is never used to describe – “Leaders.”

    In Mat 23:10, Jesus taught “His Disciples” NOT to be called “Master/Leader”
    For you have “ONE” “Master/Leader” even Christ.

    King James Version –
    Neither be ye called masters:
    for “ONE” is your Master, even Christ.

    The Interlinear Bible –
    Nor be called leaders,
    for “ONE” is your leader the Christ.

    Phillips Modern English –
    you must not let people call you leaders,
    you have only “ONE” leader, Christ.

    Today’s English Version –
    nor should you be called leader.
    your “ONE” and only leader is the Messiah.

    “ALL” Disciples of Christ” called themselves “Servants.”
    None called themselves “leaders” or “shepherds.”
    None called themselves “Servant-Leader” or “servant-shepherd.”

    I believe what Jesus said is still important.

    You write…
    “but the mature respected ones in the community who were leading by example.”

    Yes… I would just eliminate “Leading” and replace it with – “Serving” by example.

    You write…
    “why did they use that term in the NT at least once not speakin of Jesus alone?”

    I have wondered about that myself. Seems Eph 4:11 is the only place where
    shepherd = poimen “might” be pointing to a mere human who serves God’s flock.
    Most times – poimen – points to Jesus.

    The only one I can find with the “Title” Shepherd is Jesus.

    I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul… Jesus…

  24. 9-28-2010

    Thank you! :) I hear you (read you?) :)

    good to see u again

  25. 9-28-2010

    A. Amos Love,

    “Leading” and “leaders” are not “dirty words” in Scripture. They are valid terms used to describe mature believers who serve others and who others should emulate as they follow Christ. You can see examples of these terms used here in the New Testament: Luke 22:26, Romans 12:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:12, Hebrews 13:7, Hebrews 13:17, Hebrews 13:24.

    Also, in the way I use the term “pastor,” it refers to someone who shepherds (cares for) others. You can see the term used this way in Ephesians 4:11 (as you pointed out), but also in Acts 20:28 and 1 Peter 5:2.

    There’s no problem using terms like leaders and pastors for those who are mature and care for others. I do agree that these terms should not be used for those who seek to control others or make decisions for others.

    Oh, by the way, “shepherd” is also used as a title for Jesus in 1 Peter 5:4, along with the adjective for “chief” or “ruler.”


  26. 9-28-2010

    Alan – I love you.

    You write…
    ““Leading” and “leaders” are not “dirty words” in Scripture.”

    Well, maybe yes and maybe no, with the scriptures you mentioned. ;-)

    We can have a resonable debate about the scriptures you mentioned soon.

    I was a part of so called “Leadership.” I have this strange feeling that the Greek words the ESV translates as “Leader” might have had a very different understanding 2000 years ago.

    How about these scriptures…
    Where “pastor,” “shepherd,” and “leader,” **are dirty words?** ;-)


    Jeremiah 2:8
    The priests said not, Where is the LORD?
    and they that handle the law knew me not:
    **the pastors** also transgressed against me,
    and the prophets prophesied by Baal,
    and walked after things that do not profit.

    Jeremiah 10:21
    For **the pastors** are become brutish, ( beastly, carnal )
    and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper,
    and all their flocks shall be scattered.

    Jeremiah 12:10
    **Many pastors** have destroyed my vineyard,
    they have trodden my portion under foot,
    they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.

    Jeremiah 22:22
    The wind shall eat up **ALL thy pastors,**
    and thy lovers shall go into captivity…

    Jeremiah 23:1
    Woe be unto **the pastors**
    that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!

    Jeremiah 23:2
    …thus saith the LORD God of Israel **against the pastors**
    that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock,
    and driven them away, and have not visited them:
    behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.


    Jeremiah 50:6
    **My people** hath been **lost sheep:**
    **their shepherds** have caused them to go astray…

    Zechariah 10:3
    Mine anger was kindled against **the shepherds,** and I punished the goats:

    Isaiah 56:11
    Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough,
    and **they are shepherds** that cannot understand:
    they all look to their own way, everyone for his gain, from his quarter.


    Isaiah 9:16
    For **the leaders** of this people **cause thee to err; **
    and they that are **led of them** are destroyed.

    Isaiah 3:12
    …O my people, **they which lead thee** cause thee to err,
    and destroy the way of thy paths.

    Micah 3:11
    The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof
    teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money …

    Matthew 15:14
    Let them alone: they be **blind leaders** of the blind.
    And if **the blind lead the blind,** both shall fall into the ditch.

    I left “The Abusive Religious System” in the early 90’s.
    Through much pain, tears, and “Spiritual Abuse.”

    The benefit is – the “Spiritual Abuse” drives you to Jesus.:-)

    And I’ve spent a lot of years, and a lot of tears, helping pull
    both **Blind Leaders** and **the Blind* “who let blind men lead them,”
    out of the ditches of despond, despair, depression. :-(
    There is no excuse for “Abuse.” Ever…

    My experience with **Today’s** “pastor/leader”
    and being in “leadership” shows me…

    Everyone who assumes the position of “pastor/leader,”

    No matter how loving, eventually…
    No matter how humble, eventually…
    No matter how much a servant, eventually…

    Will “exercise authority” and “lord it over” God’s sheep, God’s ekklesia.:-(

    That’s always the beginning of “Spiritual Abuse.” (I’m guilty as charged!)

    Pastor/Leaders = exercise authority = lord it over = abuse = always.

    I have the best “Shepherd/Leader” and I’m in agreement with King David… :-)

    The Lord is my shepherd… Thank you Jesus…

  27. 9-28-2010

    A. Amos Love,

    I love you too. I agree that in Scripture (as well as today), we see examples of leaders who are not leading in the way that God desires. But, I know several leaders and pastors who do not attempt to exercise authority, lord it over others, or abuse others.

    They are there… but the church doesn’t always follow them.


  28. 9-29-2010


    You write…
    “I know several leaders and pastors who **do not attempt** to exercise authority, lord it over others, or abuse others.”

    Me too, know several, thought I was one. But my attempts and I failed. :-(
    Caused me to go to Jesus and ask different questions.

    I’ve come to understand – Whenever someone assumes the “Title” and/or “Position” of “Pastor/Leader,” they **automatically** (Because of the “Title” and “Position”) are “exercising authority” and “lording it over” His flock.
    Because the “Title” and “Position” of “Pastor/Leader” comes with something“A Little Bit Extra.”

    Power, Profit, Prestige, Honor, Glory, Reputation, Recognition, etc..

    “All” “Idols of the heart. Ezek 14:1-11.
    “All” those things Jesus spoke against.
    “All” those things that say one is a little better, a little more important, then another.
    “All” those things “highly esteemed among men”
    but – “is abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15

    Isn’t Jesus to be our example? As man, Jesus humbled Himself,
    made Himself of NO reputation, and took on the form of a “Servant.” Phil 2:7-8.

    If you take the “Title?” and you’re known as “Pastor/Leader?”
    Don’t you now have a “Reputation?” Whether you want it or not? Oy Vey!!! :-(

    And – Have you now taken the “name” of the Lord in vain?
    Doesn’t God/Jesus want to be known as, and called, our “Shepherd/Leader?”
    Doesn’t Jesus want us to follow Him and NOT a mere fallible human?
    Jesus said, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: Jn 10:27.

    Jesus said in John 5:41, I receive **NOT honour** from men.
    John 5:44 How can ye believe, which **receive honour** one of another,
    and seek not **the honour** that cometh from God only?

    When someone refers to you as “Pastor/Leader?”
    Are you now receiving “Honor from Man?” Whether you want it or not? :-(

    Jesus said in John 7:18, He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory:

    When someone introduces himself, or is known as, “Pastor/Leader?” Why?
    Today that “Title” is written on – Diploma’s on walls, business cards,
    office doors, Sunday morning bulletins, street signs, websites, etc..
    Everyone knows who the “Pastor/Leader” is. Why? Seeking his own glory?

    Didn’t you ever wonder why NO one in the Bible had
    the “Title” and “Position” of “Pastor/Leader?”

    Why isn’t being known as “Servant of Christ,” “Disciple of Christ,” enough?

    Be blessed in your search for truth… Jesus…

  29. 9-29-2010

    wow this is great – thanks for all the back & forth. Good discussion.

  30. 9-30-2010

    A. Amos Love,

    Yes, everyone will fail at times, even those who are mature in Christ.

    When I talk about leaders and pastors (shepherds) I am not talking about the kinds of “leaders” and “pastors” that we normally see in churches today. There are other kinds of leaders and pastors – the kinds that Scripture describes.

    People were called leaders and pastors in Scripture. They were not “titles” but were descriptions of their functions among the church. We do not use titles either, but we have people who are examples of serving others to us (“leaders”) and people who care for others (and are therefore “pastoring”). Trust, this is not the place to have the argument about titles. I don’t do titles.


  31. 9-30-2010


    Glad to hear you don’t do “Titles.” :-)

    In my experience…

    “Titles” become “Idols.”
    “Pastors” become “Masters.”

  32. 9-30-2010


    I appreciate the work you’ve done with trying to understand Hebrews 13, and all that “Obey your leaders and submit to them, and does submission = authority? This is certainly an important topic for the body of Christ. Much “Spritual Abuse” has been alowed because of how these verses are explained.

    I even give out your info and list of your blogs that discuss this issue when I’m discussing this with other bloggers. Most are stuck in the “Abusive” way this has been taught. Obey your leaders – case closed.

    I’m grateful for this resource.

    And Yet – I still struggle when someone says, or thinks. they are a “Leader.”

    Because Jesus told “His Disciples” NOT to call themselves “Master/Leaders”
    For you have “ONE” “Master/Leader” the Christ. Mat 23:8-10 KJV.

    And NONE of “His Disciples” called themselves “Leader” or “Servant-Leader.”
    They “ALL” called themselves “Servants.”

    And doesn’t someone being a “Leader” mean others are followers?
    And now we have separation, division, some greater then others.
    If some are pastors, shepherds? Then some are sheep?
    And now we have separation, division, some greater then others.

    In Christ we are “ONE.” we are “ONE” new man, we are “ONE” body. With “ONE” head. Jesus.

    One problem is only “some” can be as pastors, “some” as leaders. That is “EXclusive.”
    But, “ALL” “Disciples of Christ” can be “Servants of Christ.”
    “ALL” can hear “HIS Voice” and follow Jesus. This is “INclusive.”

    John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be “ALL” taught of God.

    The question for me became…
    Does Jesus want me following and learning from a mere fallible human?
    Or, Does Jesus want me following and learning from Jesus? ;-)
    Guess which “ONE” I choose? ;-)

    I want to agree with you when you write…
    “People were called leaders and pastors in Scripture.”

    I believed that for a long time. “Traditions of men” are powerful.

    But, doesn’t that depend on which version of the Bible we read. Yes?
    And can you name one person **called** leader or pastor?
    And the words the ESV translates as ”Leader” has more then one definition. Yes?

    “Hegeomai” in the KJV is never leader it is translated, – count 10, think 4, esteem 3, have rule over 3,
    Thayers says it also means “to go before.” Hmmm? Obey, be persuaded by, those you “esteem.”
    A guide who goes before? And you “esteem? – Or – I’m the leader/boss?

    “proisthmi” not only a leader but also means to be a protector or guardian.

    Those two words have a different flavor then some are leaders some are followers.

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall **hear MY voice;**
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice.
    If Not Now, When?

  33. 3-5-2012

    An old post, but a new comment.
    Teachers/preachers (read Elders) are given to the Church in Ephesians 4 to “equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
    so it is not an exclusive role but an encouraging/releasing and mentoring role. Presumably Paul had in mind that as the Church grew so more teachers/preachers/Elders would be released. Not easy in the Church structures we are keen to be locked into!

  34. 3-5-2012


    It’s always been interesting to me to think about how the “evangelist” would “equip the church”… Wouldn’t it be by helping others learn how to evangelize? Maybe, then, the role of the “pastor” here is to help others learn to shepherd others?

    I agree that some structures can cause this passage to be problematic for the church!


  35. 10-2-2012

    In Christianity 101 by Gilbert G. Bilezikian he raises the interesting comment that Elders wera (temporary?) remedial fix to the problems in Ephesus.

    Interestingly how little mention of them in the other letters.

  36. 10-2-2012


    Elders are mentioned specifically in the churches in Galatia and in Jerusalem also (Acts 14-15). Do you remember what evidence he gave for elders to be temporary?



  1. Thinking About Elders | The Assembling of the Church - [...] week, on my post “Honest Questions About Elders/Pastors“, I thought the comments were very good. In reply to two …