Saturday, November 21, 2009
Is a church to have a minister or ministers?
Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. (Acts 13:1-3)
The Church at Antioch had a range of church officers, which included the ministries of prophet and teacher. These prophets did several things:
1. They ministered to the Lord.
2. The fasted.
3. They prayed.
4. They heard the Holy Spirit speaking to them.
5. They received instructions from the Holy Spirit.
6. They laid hands upon others, setting them aside for a specific task.
7. They gave authoritative instruction.
These prophets and teachers were Elders of the Church who had specific roles: some as prophets and some as teachers. Amongst the Eldership there may also have been: Apostles, Evangelists and Pastors. These five ministries (Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers) Paul tells us, are gifts that have been given to the church for a specific purpose:
"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." (Ephesians 4:11-16)
The church in our day needs these five ministries to be operating, and each of the ministries given room to function as God intended them to. They were not just ministries for the first century church, they continue to be necessary gifts to the church so that the Body of Christ may grow up into the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ