“11) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12) for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;” Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭11‬-‭12‬ ‭
We now come to the second category of grace gifts, which are often looked at as “Administration”, “Ministry” or “Leadership Gifts.” Throughout both Old and New Testament history, God has raised up gifted and anointed leaders through whom He guided and directed His people. The pages of Scripture are filled with stories of both good and bad leaders.
Examples of good leaders ranged from Noah, Joseph, Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Elijah, Daniel, Peter, John, James, Barnabas, Stephen, Philip, Paul, Timothy, Aquila and Priscilla, and Apollos. Good leaders first and foremost have a personal heart of fervor and passion for God and in genuine humility and godly fear tend to avoid self promotion. They view themselves as mere servants of God to nurture and pour value into others for the glory of God. (Read Hebrews chapter 11 for examples of great leaders)
Examples of bad leaders range from Aaron, Korah, Balaam, Sampson, Saul, Solomon, Rehoboam, Jeroboam, Ahab, Judas, Ananias, Diotrephes, Demas and Nicolas. Bad leaders are self-absorbed, rebellious, and often deceived. They gave way to pleasure, self-pride and personal agendas. Soon, they do anything and everything to grab power, authority and self-promotion. They then use their position to exploit, manipulate and control people. Spiritual abuse is a tragic and common characteristic of bad leaders.
Leadership is crucial because the heart, passion and focus of people follows the leader. In the Bible, God has a design for a plurality of leadership as a check and balance system. In the Old Testament it was the offices of prophet, priest and king. In the New Testament there are five ministry or leadership gifts given to the local church. (Ephesians 4:11)
Though there are different ways of understanding these five leadership gifts or offices, today I am going to expound what I see as the five fold leadership model in the New Testament Church. (Acts 13:1-4; Ephesians 4:11-12)
These leaders are intended to multiply and duplicate themselves by creating more leaders. Good leaders should work themselves out of a job as they raise up or disciple many gifted leaders around them. (See Ephesians 4:12; 2 Timothy 2:1-2)
A. This is translated from the Greek word: “apostolos” which means “one sent” or an “ambassador”. B. There are two very different groups of “Apostolos” in the New Testament: (Context dictates usage!!)
1. The Twelve Appointed Apostles. Matthew 10:1-5; Acts 1:15-26 a) There was and are only 12 of these Apostles of the Lamb. Rev 21:14 b) They were appointed directly by Jesus prior to Pentecost. Matt 10:1-4, Acts 1:15-26
2. The Spirit gifted missionaries sent out to start new works. Eph 4:11 a)These were all gifts of the Holy Spirit given after Pentecost. b) This may be the New Testament “missionary gift.” Acts 13:1-5 c) The same Greek word was used for both groups, but the role and office was different. 1) Acts 14:4 and 14 Paul and Barnabas both called “apostles”. 2) I Thes. 2:6 Paul used the word in the Plural to refer to himself, Silvanus and Timothy. (See I Thes 1:1) d) It seems that those missionaries who started a church or new work had an ongoing guidance role in the church. I Cor. 12:28 e) This is amplified even more when the Greek word for “sent” which is “apostello” is viewed. This then includes Scriptures like ***Romans 10:14-15, Acts 13:3-4 and II Timothy 4:12.
A. This is translated from the Greek word “prophetes” and seems to indicate one who spoke forth for God. This has been viewed as everything from a special anointed word from God, to a leader sent with a message to God’s people. B. In the New Testament these spokesmen for God were valued for their leadership in the early church and were often the source of wise guidance and counsel in the church. (Ephesians 4:11, Acts 13:1-3, I Cor 12:28) C. They have an ability to discern the will and leading of God as well as often being gifted preachers of the Word of God. (I Cor 14:3) D. One surprising New Testament use of this gift is mentioned in Acts 21:9. The four daughters of Philip the evangelist who in the church at Ceasarea were recognized as Prophetesses. At the very least we need to conclude that the early church recognized that God could and did speak through godly and approved women.
A. This is translated from the Greek word “euaggelistes” which simply means “one who declares the good news.” B. Philip was the only man called an evangelist in the New Testament. Acts 21:8. C. He was also one of the deacons appointed by the church at Jerusalem as recorded in Acts 6:5-7. D. He was seen doing itinerant work spreading the gospel in Acts 8:4-40 E. He may have been part of the ministry team at the church in Ceasarea. Acts 21:7-10 F. Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. II Timothy 4:5
IV. THE SPIRIT GIVEN GIFT OF PASTOR: Eph 4:11 (Some scholars put pastor and teacher together as one gift)
A. This is translated from the Greek word “polmen” which means “to shepherd” and includes “feeding, caring for, protecting and guiding.” B. This word was often used for shepherds of sheep. (Matt 9:36, Matt 25:32) C. This word was often applied to Christ Himself. (Matt 26:31; John 10:11 & 14; Heb 13:20; I Peter 2:25, I Peter 5:4) D. This was as a charge to the elders in the church to “pastor” or “shepherd” the flock of God. (I Peter 5:1-4)
A. This is translated from the Greek word “didaskaios” and meant a teacher or one who instructs a student, learner or disciple. B. These needed to be approved and seemed to be part of the ministry team in the local church. (Acts 13:1) C. There were warnings in scripture that teachers would be held accountable for their content. (James 3:1-2) D. Paul told Timothy to pay close attention to himself and his teaching. (I Tim 4:13-16) E. Paul told Timothy that elders should work hard at both preaching and teaching. (I Timothy 5:17-18) F. Teachers and preachers are responsible to handle accurately the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:14-16) G. Teachers and all spiritual leaders were to be appreciated and valued by the flock of God’s people. (I Thes 5:12-13) H. Paul warned of a coming time of apostasy when people would fall away from sound doctrine and look for ear tickling teachers. (II Timothy 4:1-4) I. There are also ample warnings against both false teachers and false prophets. (I Tim 1:6-11, II Peter 2:1-22)
I. They are body equipping gifts. Eph 4:12 II. They are body growth gifts. Eph 4:13 III. They are body protection gifts. Eph 4:14 IV. They are body correction gifts. Eph 4:15 V. They are body direction gifts. Eph 4:16 (Acts 13:1-3)
1. Some of these gifts overlap greatly so they were simply called leaders. 2. Early local churches seemed to have teams of multiple leaders working together within the church on a common vision or purpose. (Phil 1:27) 3. Though some of these leadership-gifted people were in full time service, many were also lay people and served as elders or overseers. 4. Sometimes key leaders were sent from outside the community to help a local church get established and grow. (Acts 11:19-26, I Tim 1:3-5, Titus 1:5-6) 5. In the New Testament, many leaders were raised up from within local churches. With Spirit directed confirmation, some of these leaders were set aside for full time service, at which time they were financially supported by the church. (I Cor 9:14) 6. The modern model of a “solo pastor” lording it over a church like a CEO is nearly impossible to establish in Scripture. (Ephesians 4:11-12) 7. The CEO model of church leadership is secular and corporate and changes the paradigm of the church from a living organism to a static organization. (1 Peter 2:4-5; Ephesians 4:11-22)
There is much to ponder with the above Scriptures. This study automatically spills into wrestling with different models of church structure and organization.
Over the years, we have done itinerant ministry in every church structure imaginable. My observation is that the focus needs to be on Jesus, proclaiming the gospel locally, prayer, inspirational worship, the ministry of the Holy Spirit and world missions. When these are the focus, any structure can flourish. But when structure itself becomes the focus, any church can slowly become introverted, dysfunctional and loose vibrant life. It begins to die!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global